MLB Trade Rumors | Anthony Franco: After Major League Baseball made an “offer” to the players’ union last week — the first meeting between the two sides since the lockout needlessly began — it was reported the other day that the MLBPA was in the process of preparing a counteroffer. Now, we know the date that the offer will be presented to the owners’ representatives: this coming Monday, January 24th. Marking just the second meeting between the two sides on the core economics issues, it does represent an iota of progress. Just don’t expect the owners to be all that thrilled about it, either.
The Athletic | Evan Drellich (subscription required): And why wouldn’t the owners be too thrilled about it? Because everything surrounding the commissioner’s office suggests that despite empty platitudes about competitive balance and the integrity of the game, Rob Manfred is really focused on just one thing: “minimizing how much owners have to give up.” And just like he did in the COVID-shortened 2020, he is more than happy to wait out the players, believing that time will crack the players’ resolve and force them to give in.
In many respects, this isn’t even about just the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, because in truth, the players probably don’t expect to receive everything in their demands — that is how negotiations work, after all. Rather, the owners look at this as an opportunity to break the unity of the players, to shut down their attempts at significantly altering the current climate to such an extent that they will not be able to bounce back for a few years.
Or, to say what is actually happening: In the tradition of Charles Pratt and Standard Oil, MLB is attempting to engage in union busting.
New York Post | Andrew Marchand: Ever since Ken Singleton retired and David Cone decreased his workload to cover ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, the YES Network has needed to add another analyst to cover the 50 or so games that will be opening up on the broadcast calendar. Reports have indicated that a pair of former Yankee outfielders are on the short list — Carlos Beltrán and Cameron Maybin — alongside Jeff Nelson and an increased role for John Flaherty. Beltrán in particular represents an interesting case, as his “insightful answers” in interviews late in his career demonstrated that he has the skills necessary to work in the booth. The YES job, additionally, would be ideal for him as a way to return from baseball “exile” like A.J. Hinch and Alex Cora after losing his job as the Mets manager before even taking the field in the fallout of the Astros sign-stealing scandal.
Baseball Prospectus | Jeffrey Paternostro and BP Prospect Staff: Baseball Prospectus released their annual Top 101 prospects list this year, and three Yankees made the list. Shortstop Anthony Volpe, widely considered to be the organization’s top prospect, ranked 14th; he was the fifth-ranked shortstop, behind Bobby Witt Jr. (1), Marco Luciano (9), CJ Abrams (11), and Oneil Cruz (12). Oswald Peraza also made the list, coming in at No. 61, as did pitcher Randy Vasquez (No. 90), who BP likes quite a bit more than their contemporaries. Jasson Domínguez, who was ranked 46th on the list back in 2020, did not make this year’s list.
ESPN | Associated Press: It’s the Age of Ultron! Not yet, anyway, but “robots” are flying through the minor leagues. Major League Baseball announced yesterday that they will be testing the automated strike zone in Triple-A next season. These “robot umps,” as they have been commonly called (completely ignoring the fact that they need a human to actually operate the system), was used last year in the Low-A Southeast League.