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Minor league season officially canceled

It had been a foregone conclusion for some time, but today’s official announcement nonetheless hurts baseball fans around the world: The 2020 minor league season has been canceled. The announcement came after Major League Baseball informed Minor League Baseball it will not be providing its affiliated teams with players this season. MLB clubs have designated 60 players who may appear during the planned 60-game major

Players who choose to sit out don’t owe us an explanation

Four major league players announced their decisions not to play in 2020 on Monday, three of them current or former Nationals. Their stated reasons for opting out varied from specific health concerns about close family members (Ryan Zimmerman) to more vague concerns about the pandemic (Mike Leake) to a passionate and deeply personal message about baseball, race, culture, health and family (Ian Desmond). Joe Ross,

Zimmerman and Ross opting out of 2020 season (updated)

Ryan Zimmerman, the only person to play in a major league game for the Nationals during each of their 15 seasons in town, will not play for the club during its 16th season. Zimmerman and right-hander Joe Ross have opted out of the abbreviated 2020 campaign, uncomfortable with the health risks posed to players and staffers during this unprecedented attempt to play through a global

Thoughts on the Nats’ preliminary 60-man roster

If you’ve followed baseball closely over the years, you should have a basic understanding of a franchise’s various rosters and how they differ. There’s the 25-man roster, of course, the group of players actively in the major leagues at any given moment. Then there’s the 40-man roster, which in addition to the 25 active big leaguers includes players on the short-term injured list (10-day IL)

A primer on the plan for the 2020 season

The plan to start the 2020 Major League Baseball season is now officially in place. Whether it is completed in full depends on the spread of the novel coronavirus and the ability of more than 1,000 players, coaches, trainers, clubhouse staffers, team executives, umpires, groundskeepers and other assorted support staff to keep it from spreading. It’s a daunting task, one that has no guarantee of

Was this bitter fight worth it?

So after all that, after months of nothing and weeks of bickering, after talk of a season that could be as short as 48 games or as long as 114 games, after proposals to expand the postseason to 16 teams and institute the universal designated hitter this year and next, after all that, what did we get? A 60-game season unilaterally imposed by the commissioner.

MLB will impose season after players vote down final offer

The Major League Baseball Players Association resoundingly voted down the league’s latest (and final) proposal for the 2020 season this evening, leaving commissioner Rob Manfred to unilaterally impose a shortened season on the players, the details of which should be announced in the next 24 to 48 hours. The MLBPA executive committee - made up of 30 team representatives and the eight-man subcommittee that includes

Whenever baseball resumes, it won’t look or sound normal

The last three months have provided an opportunity to re-watch plenty of classic games, and honestly it’s been a fun experience. But nothing compares to a real, live sporting event, and I think we’re all reaching a point where it’s becoming harder and harder to be without them. The last few weeks have provided a few viewing options, though, as a handful of sports and

Time for final decision on 2020 season has come

After months of waiting followed by weeks of squabbling, the time has probably come for a final decision on the 2020 season. And barring a last-minute change of heart by the owners and players who have been refusing to budge from their most recent offers, it appears the sport is destined for a short season unilaterally mandated by commissioner Rob Manfred, which will probably be

Nationals sign first-round pick Cavalli

First-round pick Cade Cavalli signed with the Nationals today, only nine days after the Oklahoma right-hander was drafted 22nd overall in the country. Terms of Cavalli’s deal weren’t immediately available, but the Nats have room to go above Major League Baseball’s designated $3.027 million slot value for the 22nd pick. The club created extra space to spend more on their top three picks by signing

Friday morning Nats Q&A

Well, it’s Friday again. And we still don’t know when (or if) the baseball season will begin. I’d claim to be surprised by this development, but at this point, nothing surprises me. Yet I’ll admit I’m still optimistic a deal will get done soon. Maybe in the next 48 hours? I know the difference between the 60 games the owners are offering and the 70

Progress in latest round of talks, but no deal quite yet

Is it possible? Is it possible Rob Manfred and Tony Clark are close to a deal and the 2020 season is nearly upon us at last? Well, yes and no. After a Wednesday that featured a whirlwind of emotions, from brief moments of joy to forceful words of caution, here’s where it appears things stand: Manfred and Clark, after meeting in person (and in secret)

Nats have a lot to lose in shortened or canceled season

It’s June 17, and we still don’t know when (or if) the Major League Baseball season is going to begin. But at this point, it’s pretty safe to say that however long the potential season is, it won’t be long. It won’t equate to one-half of a normal season. It might not even equate to one-third of a 162-game slate. And that could have some

Time for baseball to do what’s in the best interests of baseball

When baseball owners approached Kenesaw “Mountain” Landis in 1920 and asked him to become the first commissioner in professional sports, the then-U.S. District Court judge insisted he be given a very specific power. Landis insisted he be allowed to make major decisions on his own, without approval of owners or players, for matters he believed were “in the best interests of baseball.” Exactly one century

Tales from the clubhouse: Bonds and Bacsik

With no news on the state of the 2020 season expected until sometime today, the baseball world was left Sunday with nothing else to do but wax nostalgic and watch a documentary about the breaking of one of the sport’s most hallowed records 22 years ago. The Great Home Run Chase of 1998 between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa was beloved by everyone at the

Chance for deal seems dead after statements by MLB, players

Whatever sliver of hope remained that Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association might find a way to come together and negotiate a reasonable settlement to their ongoing fight over salary structure appeared to go up in smoke Saturday night after both entities issued nasty statements accusing each other of ruining any chance of a reasonable 2020 season. MLBPA executive director Tony Clark all

Friday morning Nats Q&A

Another week down, another week without resolution to the seemingly important question of: “When will the 2020 Major League Baseball season begin, and how long will it last?” Despite proposals and counter-proposals, the league and the MLB Players Association don’t appear to be close to a deal at this point. We can only continue to hope cooler heads will prevail - and soon. There was

Nationals Day 2 draft tracker (updated)

It’s day two of the draft, and the Nationals have much more to consider than they did last night when they waited around for their one and only pick (No. 22), which they used on Oklahoma right-hander Cade Cavalli. Tonight, the Nats will make five selections, one apiece in rounds two through five, plus a compensatory pick after the second round they received for losing

In strange draft year, Nats confident early scouting will pay off

When they gathered Wednesday night - each individual secluded in his own home - for the first night of this year’s draft, Mike Rizzo, Kris Kline and the Nationals scouting department would have been excused if they felt less prepared than they had any previous year they gathered for the first night of the draft. Nobody had been able to scout anybody in person in

Nats need to find more success with late first-round picks

The Nationals built a contender - and ultimately, a World Series champion - on the strength of an impressive run of first-round draft picks who developed into superstars. Ryan Zimmerman. Stephen Strasburg. Anthony Rendon. Bryce Harper and Drew Storen (aside from the champion part). All were top-10 selections during the Nats’ first seven drafts. All had a hand in the franchise’s ascension. The first three

Players, owners can’t try to fight 2021 battle in 2020

There are problems with Major League Baseball’s economics system. Big problems. Yes, the sport brings in as much as $11 billion a year, but that doesn’t mean the economic state of the sport is healthy. Players have been making this argument for two years now. How can owners be making so much money while free agency remains stagnant? How can so many teams be profitable

10 years later, Strasburg’s debut still leaves us in awe

It’s almost impossible to refer to any game or any player in baseball history as unique. Over the last century and a half, this great sport has seen pretty much everything that can happen, happen. Yes, there have been countless remarkable, memorable, even historic moments and players. But in nearly every case, they can be compared to something or someone else. Rarely do we get

Wondering how the Nats’ season might have been playing out

The Nationals are wrapping up a homestand this afternoon, with the fourth and final game of their series against the Mets on tap, a marquee pitching matchup between Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom set for this warm afternoon on South Capitol Street. This is an important stretch of the season to date for the Nats, who through 64 games find themselves in the driver’s seat

Friday morning Nats Q&A

And so the end of another week is upon us, the 12th such week since we last had baseball players doing baseball things on a baseball field. It’s hard to believe that much time has passed, and it’s hard to believe there is still no agreed-upon plan for bringing the sport back. Obviously, there are more important issues in the world right now than baseball,

Set a deadline, and you might actually get a deal at last

Precisely 12 weeks have passed since Major League Baseball shut down spring training and delayed the start of the regular season, the novel coronavirus having forced the entire nation to shut down like never before. Nobody knew at that moment how much time would pass before baseball could be played again, but slowly it became clear the target date for starting a condensed 2020 season

Nationals call for “unity and solidarity” in statement

Following the trend initiated by a few Major League Baseball clubs over the weekend and echoed by many more franchises throughout the day, the Nationals issued a statement late Tuesday in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the charging of police officer Derek Chauvin with third-degree murder and manslaughter, and the protests that have taken place across the country in the aftermath.

MLB, union seem far apart, but middle ground awaits them

It’s hard to look at the competing proposals for the 2020 season offered up by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association and come to the conclusion that the two sides are anywhere close to striking a deal. But here’s a key point that must be taken into consideration when trying to gauge the state of negotiations: Both sides are purposely making proposals that

Nationals change course, will keep paying minor leaguers in full

One day after learning their own major league players had pledged to cover the pay cuts the organization was imposing on minor leaguers, Nationals ownership reversed course and elected to continue making full weekly stipend payments to their players, a source familiar with the decision confirmed. The Nationals’ intention to reduce the stipends given to minor leaguers from $400 per week to $300 per week

Nats players pledge to cover minor leaguers’ pay cuts

Nationals players, after learning Sunday the organization is cutting minor leaguers’ weekly pay this month, have collectively pledged to cover the difference on their own. The club, which by Major League Baseball mandate had been paying all minor leaguers $400 per week throughout April and May, will reduce that amount to $300 per week in June, a source familiar with the decision confirmed. The reductions

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