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Blue Jays commit to paying full-time staff through May 31 – Sportsnet.ca

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays have committed to paying their full-time staff, including their major-league and minor-league coaching staffs, their full salaries through May 31, an industry source told Sportsnet.

This development, which was first reported by John Lott of The Athletic Monday afternoon, comes at a time of considerable uncertainty amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

While clubs including the Blue Jays, Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants have assured full-time staff of employment through May 31, other MLB teams are soon expected to have the flexibility to furlough employees or reduce pay since games are on pause and revenues are impacted. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, commissioner Rob Manfred was expected to suspend uniform employee contracts across the sport starting Monday.

In doing so, Manfred would provide teams with the option of cutting costs, though there’s no obligation to do so. Within MLB’s offices, senior executives such as Manfred are taking pay cuts averaging 35 per cent.

While big-league players aren’t getting their full salaries at this point, MLB advanced $170 million to divide amongst the players and cover the season’s first two months, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported in March. As for minor-league players, MLB extended some financial support and medical benefits through May 31st or until the beginning of the minor-league season — whichever comes first.

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Ovechkin of Capitals, Pastrnak of Bruins win Richard Trophy – NHL.com

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Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals and David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins won the Rocket Richard Trophy, awarded to the top goal scorer in the NHL, for the 2019-20 season.

Each forward scored 48 goals (Ovechkin in 68 games, Pastrnak in 70) before the season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

The League, in its Return to Play Plan announcement Tuesday, said there would be no more regular-season games, and instead would restart with eight teams in each conference playing a Qualifying Round for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and a Seeding Round Robin featuring the top four teams in each conference.

It’s the ninth time Ovechkin has led the League in goals, including each of the past three seasons; he scored 51 goals in 2018-19 and 49 in 2017-18. Ovechkin also led the League in 2007-08 (65), 2008-09 (56), 2012-13 (32), 2013-14 (51), 2014-15 (53) and 2015-16 (50).

The No. 1 pick in the 2004 NHL Draft, Ovechkin (34 years and 178 days old at time of season pause) is the third-oldest player to lead the NHL in goals, behind Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings in 1962-63 (34 years, 358 days) and Bill Cook of the New York Rangers in 1932-33 (36 years, 165 days).

Ovechkin, who became the eighth player in NHL history to reach 700 goals when he scored against the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 22, began the season in 13th place on the NHL all-time goals list with 658 and finished it eighth with 706, passing Luc Robitaille (668 goals), Teemu Selanne (684), Mario Lemieux (690), Steve Yzerman (692) and Mark Messier (694). Ovechkin is two goals behind Mike Gartner (708) for seventh.

Ovechkin has 11 seasons of at least 45 goals and was two from reaching 50 for the ninth time in his 15-season NHL career.

Named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players presented by Molson Canadian in 2017, Ovechkin has won the Hart Trophy (NHL MVP) three times, the Art Ross Trophy (NHL scoring champion) once, and was the Calder Trophy winner as NHL rookie of the year in 2005-06. He is the only player in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff MVP), Calder Trophy, Art Ross Trophy, Hart Trophy, the Ted Lindsay Award (voted best player) and the Rocket Richard Trophy.

It is the first time Pastrnak, who turned 24 on May 25, has won the Rocket Richard Trophy. He set an NHL career high in goals this season and has increased his total in each of his past five seasons. He has scored at least 34 goals in each of the past four seasons, and his 155 since 2016-17 are third in the NHL behind Ovechkin (181) and Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (158).

Pastrnak led the League with 20 power-play goals and tied for third in points (95) for the Bruins, who won the Presidents’ Trophy with the best record in the regular season.

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Agent Scott Boras to clients in memo: Don’t bail out baseball owners – Sportsnet.ca

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NEW YORK — Agent Scott Boras recommends his clients refuse Major League Baseball’s attempt to cut salaries during negotiations with the players’ association, claiming team financial issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic have their origin in management debt financing.

In an email obtained by The Associated Press, Boras wrote that players should not alter terms of the March 26 agreement between MLB and the union that called for players to reduce their salaries to a prorated rate based on a shortened season. MLB on Tuesday proposed a series of tiered reductions that would cause top stars to receive the biggest cuts.

“Remember, games cannot be played without you,” Boras wrote. “Players should not agree to further pay cuts to bail out the owners. Let owners take some of their record revenues and profits from the past several years and pay you the prorated salaries you agreed to accept or let them borrow against the asset values they created from the use of those profits players generated.”

Boras is baseball’s best-known agent and represented 71 players on active rosters and injured lists as of Aug. 31, the most among player representative firms. His Newport Beach, California-based company negotiated more than $1.2 billion in contracts during the off-season.

Salaries were set to range from $563,500 for players at the major league minimum to $36 million for Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole, the latter a Boras client. Under the March agreement, the range would be cut to roughly $285,000 to $18 million for the 82-game regular season MLB has proposed. Under the economic proposal made by MLB this week, the range would be reduced to about $262,000 to $8 million, including shares of a bonus all players would receive if the post-season is played.

“Owners are asking for more salary cuts to bail them out of the investment decisions they have made,” Boras said. “If this was just about baseball, playing games would give the owners enough money to pay the players their full prorated salaries and run the baseball organization. The owners’ current problem is a result of the money they borrowed when they purchased their franchises, renovated their stadiums or developed land around their ballparks. This type of financing is allowed and encouraged by MLB because it has resulted in significant franchise valuations.”

“Owners now want players to take additional pay cuts to help them pay these loans. They want a bailout,” he added. “They are not offering players a share of the stadiums, ballpark villages or the club itself, even though salary reductions would help owners pay for these valuable franchise assets. These billionaires want the money for free. No bank would do that. Banks demand loans be repaid with interest. Players should be entitled to the same respect.”

Commissioner Rob Manfred has said 40% of MLB’s revenue is related to the gate. Teams told the union on May 12 that MLB would lose $640,000 for each game played in empty ballparks without fans. MLB claimed that playing with prorated salaries in empty ballparks would cause a $4 billion loss and give major league players 89% of revenue.

Washington pitcher Max Scherzer, among three Boras clients on the union’s eight-man executive subcommittee, issued a statement late Wednesday night saying “there’s no need to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions.”

Boras cited the purchase of the Chicago Cubs by the Ricketts family and the redevelopment of Wrigley Field. Debt financing was key to both, he said.

“Throughout this process, they will be able to claim that they never had any profits because those profits went to pay off their loans,” he wrote. “However, the end result is that the Ricketts will own improved assets that significantly increases the value of the Cubs — value that is not shared with the players.”

Boras asked clients to “please share this concept with your teammates and fellow players when MLB request further concessions or deferral of salaries.”

“Make no mistake, owners have chosen to take on these loans because, in normal times, it is a smart financial decision,” Boras wrote. “But, these unnecessary choices have now put them in a challenging spot. Players should stand strong because players are not the ones who advised owners to borrow money to purchase their franchises and players are not the ones who have benefited from the recent record revenues and profits.”

He added salaries have been flat for several years. The opening day average has been in the $4.4 million rang e since 2016.

Cincinnati pitcher Trevor Bauer addressed Boras on Wednesday on Twitter.

“Hearing a LOT of rumours about a certain player agent meddling in MLBPA affairs,” Bauer tweeted. “If true — and at this point, these are only rumours — I have one thing to say … Scott Boras, rep your clients however you want to, but keep your damn personal agenda out of union business.”

Boras declined to comment on Bauer’s remarks.

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Sources: Players want more games, no more salary cuts – TSN

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NEW YORK (AP) — Baseball players appeared likely to propose more regular-season games this year while holding to their demand for full prorated salaries, people familiar with their deliberations told The Associated Press.

Washington pitcher Max Scherzer, among eight players on the union’s executive subcommittee, issued a statement late Wednesday night calling management’s proposal for more salary cuts a non-starter.

A day after Major League Baseball proposed a sliding scale of salary slashing for a pandemic-delayed season with an 82-game schedule in ballparks without fans, the union held a conference call Wednesday that included its executive board, player representatives and alternate player representatives, the people said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because no details were announced.

Scherzer, among the sport’s highest-paid players, confirmed the call without divulging who was on it.

“After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no need to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions,” he said in a statement posted to Twitter. “We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received.”

“I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint,” he added, “and believe MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.”

It was unclear when the union will respond to MLB’s plan, the people said.

Stars Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole would lose the most under MLB’s plan, about 77% of the $36 million each they were set to be paid this season. In all, there are 133 players whose contracts call for salaries of $10 million or more, not including shares of signing bonuses.

A big leaguer earning $1 million or less would keep at least 43% of his salary under the six-tier scale. That includes a share of $200 million earmarked for players that is contingent on the postseason being completed. About 460 of approximately 900 players on rosters and injured lists when spring training was stopped in mid-March due to the new coronavirus make $1 million or less.

Trout and Cole would be cut to about $8 million each. Colorado’s Nolan Arenado would drop from $35 million to $7.84 million.

“Interesting strategy of making the best most marketable players potentially look like the bad guys,” Milwaukee pitcher Brett Anderson tweeted.

The players’ association called the proposal “extremely disappointing.” The union has argued players already accepted a cut to prorated shares of their salaries in a March 26 agreement and should not have to bargain again.

MLB would like to start the season around the Fourth of July in empty ballparks and proposed an 82-game regular season. It claims teams would lose billions of dollars by playing with no ticket money and gate-related revenue.

“This season is not looking promising,” New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman tweeted. “Keeping the mind and body ready regardless.”

Union head Tony Clark has not commented publicly on MLB’s proposal and has said very little publicly since late March. Agent Scott Boras has repeatedly criticized MLB for proposing more salary reductions and has questioned the accuracy of management’s financial claims.

“Hearing a LOT of rumors about a certain player agent meddling in MLBPA affairs,” Cincinnati pitcher Trevor Bauer tweeted Wednesday. “If true — and at this point, these are only rumors — I have one thing to say… Scott Boras, rep your clients however you want to, but keep your damn personal agenda out of union business.”

Boras declined to comment on Bauer’s remarks.

“Working together to manage the public health issue has brought great solidarity among the players,” Boras said earlier in the day. “They are a strong united front and resolute in their support of the MLBPA.”

A season with more than 82 games would lead to players earning a higher percentage of their original salaries. MLB says that without fans each additional game would result in a $640,000 loss.

Brewers chairman Mark Attanasio told the Greater Milwaukee Committee on Tuesday “the be-careful-what-you-wish-for part is hours every day.”

“It’s got to come together very quickly or we won’t be able to, we will just run out of time,” he said. “To pay players at a full contract rate, pretty much 90% of that would go to pay them and wouldn’t cover any other costs.”

Details of the plan have been disclosed to the AP by several people familiar with the proposal. They spoke on condition of anonymity because details had not been announced.

MLB’s proposal says that within 48 hours of the ratification of an agreement for player compensation terms and health and safety protocols, the commissioner’s office would announce a proposed timeline for the resumption of the season.

The resumption would include a training period of at least 21 days, and each team would be allowed a maximum of three exhibition games, all in the final seven days of the training period.

Opening day would be in early July, and the final scheduled regular-season game would be no later than Sept. 27 — the same as in the original 2020 schedule.

Issues such as roster size, trade deadlines, series length and treatment of the luxury tax would be delegated to a subcommittee.

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