As the fault lines between team owners and players grow wider, fans and commentators have started to wonder if the 2020 baseball season will play at all. One man remains hopeful that a deal could come together, and he’s not who you would expect. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman met with members of the media on a video call this morning, and he weighed in on a number of topics worth covering.
Cashman believes players, teams will reach agreement
The clash between teams and the MLBPA over salary structure, revenue sharing, and the risk involved with reopening has dominated the headlines in recent days. Rays ace Blake Snell delivered a scorching critique of the plan presented by the owners earlier in the week via his Twitch stream, for example.
Cashman, however, remains optimistic. Consider what he had to say, as relayed by Brendan Kuty of NJ.com:
“I am optimistic. I don’t represent the players and the (players’) association. Obviously there’s a lot of hurdles that everyone’s trying to navigate here, and certainly trying to find common ground appropriately with the Players Association is one of those things and obviously the commissioner of baseball and his team are having honest, frank conversations and negotiations ... I’m optimistic that where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Now, for some context: Cashman represents management. Even though he has more leeway to speak candidly than other GMs, he still has a clear incentive to say he’s optimistic; he reports to Hal Steinbrenner, after all. The business side of the operation wants the season to get underway as quickly as possible to limit damages, and to have the players forfeit money to soften any other blows. It’s nice to hear he’s optimistic, because who doesn’t want baseball? But it’s important to keep agendas in perspective.
Obviously this only deals with the financial aspect of reopening. No one has yet to provide an adequate plan to ensure the health of players, coaches, and the rest of the personnel involved with resuming play. I have yet to see any specific plans addressing this problem, only general assurances that they’ll have enough tests. There’s a lot of work left to do to make something happen.
Injury updates on Judge, Hicks
The Aaron Judge rib injury saga continues. According to Cashman, Judge has received multiple follow-up tests on since the original diagnosis on March 6th. You may recall he ended his spring training after tests revealed a fractured rib and partially collapsed lung dating back to a diving catch in September 2019.
Brian Cashman said that Aaron Judge’s cracked right rib continues to heal, and he has had multiple follow-up tests. He added that the Yankees didn’t expect Judge to be MLB-ready until “summertime.”— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) May 14, 2020
The initial timetable called for at least two weeks of recovery. The key words here being at least. That the rib continues to heal is good—it indicates progress. If it weren’t improving, he would probably be looking at surgery. Everyone heals at different paces, and time is on his side. Let’s just hope he gets fully healthy and is ready to play if and when a season occurs.
On more positive injury news, Aaron HIcks continues to make progress in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.
Aaron Hicks is dry swinging and doing a throwing program, Brian Cashman says. “Him playing centerfield for the Yankees this summer is a legit option.”— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) May 14, 2020
A lot fans take issue with Hicks for his frequent trips to the inured list, but he represents an above-average bat and quality defense at a premium position. Imagine a fully healthy Yankees lineup. Hicks doesn’t have to carry the team offensively, but having a role player with his talent? Talk about a luxury.