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MLB Planning To Modify Uniforms Ahead Of 2025 Season Following Multiple Complaints 

Major League Baseball (MLB) is planning to modify its uniforms ahead of the 2025 season following complaints from both players and fans, according to reports

The MLB Players Association (MLBPA) sent a memo to players stating that the league is planning to make modifications to the uniforms including “a return to larger lettering on the back of jerseys, remedying mismatched gray tops and bottoms and addressing the new Nike jerseys’ propensity to collect sweat.” 

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The league also wants to fix the pants, as a lot of players complained about them being see-through. Players and fans were also concerned over the new jerseys that were worn during spring training and at the start of the season, which is what led MLBPA executive director Tony Clark to talk about the pants. 

“A lot of the rhetoric is confirmation that the pants are see-through. It’s been an ongoing conversation where each day has yielded something new that doesn’t seem to make as much sense as you would like it. Universal concern is the pants.”

Back in 2019, the MLB, Nike, and Fanatics announced a 10-year partnership when Fanatics began to manufacture the on-field player uniforms for Nike in 2020.

In the recent memo sent out regarding the uniform changes, the union absolves Fanatics of any blame regarding the uniforms. 

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“[We] recognize the vital importance of soliciting Player feedback, obtaining Player buy-in and not being afraid to have difficult conversations about jerseys or trading cards. Our hope is that, moving forward, Nike will take a similar approach.”

“This has been entirely a Nike issue. At its core, what has happened here is that Nike was innovating something that didn’t need to be innovated,” the memo said.

“We cautioned Nike against various changes when they previewed them in 2022, particularly regarding pants,” the memo added. 

“MLB had been, and has been, aware of our concerns as well. Unfortunately, until recently Nike’s position has essentially boiled down to: ‘nothing to see here, players will need to adjust.’”

dodgers

Yoshinobu Yamamoto Reportedly Signs With The Los Angeles Dodgers For Huge $325 Million Contract

Sources have told ESPN that Japanese star Yoshinobu Yamamoto is reportedly signing a 12-year $325 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. This would mark one of the largest deals for a pitcher in Major League Baseball.

The Dodgers will also pay an additional $50.6 million posting fee to the Orix Buffaloes, Yamamoto’s previous team. Sources also stated Yamamoto himself will get an additional $50 million signing bonus. 

The deal is pending a physical, and marks the end of a massive free agency bidding war. The New York Yankees were the initial favorite to sign Yamamoto with a $300 million offer, but the Dodgers beat them out with their deal. The Dodgers themselves have accounted for more than half of the spending across the MLB free agency this winter season, ESPN said. 

25-year-old Yamamoto has won three consecutive MVP awards and Sawamura Awards. “Over 820⅓ innings, he has posted a 1.65 ERA, struck out nearly five times as many hitters as he has walked and allowed one home run every 28 innings,” wrote ESPN’s Jeff Passan. 

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“With a fastball that runs up to 99 mph, a devastating split-fingered fastball and a looping curveball that often buckles batters’ knees, he brings as good an arsenal as any pitcher who has come to Major League Baseball from Japan. 

At 5-foot-10 and 176 pounds, Yamamoto lacks the size of a typical frontline starter, but teams interested in him were not concerned, focusing more on the quality of stuff his body can generate,” Passan wrote. 

MLB teams have been lining up for over a year to sign Yamamoto, including the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox, and the Toronto Blue Jays. 

Dodgers president Andrew Friedman, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, Giants president Farhan Zaidi and Chicago Cubs president Jed Hoyer all traveled to Japan this year at some point to see Yamamoto in person, as were many others.  

Yamamoto also toured across America during his free agency to meet with each team and see the cities, in the end, it seems like Yamamoto will be heading for sunny LA.

baseball

Liam Hendriks Met With Love And Admiration During MLB Return 

Liam Hendriks made his MLB comeback this week after beating Stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and was met with open arms, loving cheers, and standing ovations as he made his return to the field.

prime

The New “A League of Their Own” Remake TV Show Doesn’t Shy Away From Strong Reputation

The recent Amazon Prime remake “A League of Their Own” demonstrated the highs and lows of what life was like in the 1940s as being a Black transgender man.

baseball

MLB Trade Deadline: Which Pitchers Or Hitters Could Be On The Move?

With the MLB trade deadline only a week away, contenders will be looking to cash in players that can help to push them over the line. There are a number of notable names this year, and even one generational superstar, that are seeing their names frequently mentioned throughout the rumor mill.

Luis Castillo, Frankie Montas Headline The Pitching Market

For pitching needy teams, this is an extremely solid market. One of the biggest reasons why is because of controllability: both Cincinnati’s Luis Castillo and Oakland’s Frankie Montas will be eligible for arbitration in 2023 before hitting free agency in 2024, giving teams an extra year of control.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, both will “almost certainly move in the next week.” Passan also notes the St. Louis Cardinals, Seattle Mariners, and New York Yankees have been the teams in the hottest pursuit.

Both Castillo and Montas have impressed despite the below-average teams around them. Castillo carries a 2.77 ERA and 3.04 FIP in 78.0 innings, while Montas comes in with a 3.18 ERA and 3.36 FIP across 104.2 innings.

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With those performances and financial factors comes a much-higher cost. A package centering around a top-100 prospect or two would almost certainly be needed. For teams attempting to boost their talent while keeping the farm system intact, a number of pitchers could be of interest.

Among the potential targets listed by Passan include Nathan Eovaldi, Noah Syndergaard, and Jose Quintana. All have ERAs in the high 3.00s, solidify back-of-the-rotation depth, and wouldn’t cost as much in terms of prospects due to their rental status.

Will Juan Soto Be On The Move? Probably Not

By far the biggest name on the hot stove is Washington Nationals’ star outfield Juan Soto. After rejecting a $440 million dollar contract, it’s clear Washington and Soto have no future together, and recouping as much value for the 23-year-old right now would seem to be a wise, though hard to swallow, decision.

The only problem? It remains to be seen if a team will actually pay.

This year, he’s in the 98th percentile in xwOBA, 91st in max exit velocity, and 100th in BB%. Soto’s stats, age, and career trajectory suggest he’ll be a Hall of Fame player. Naturally, Washington is seeking a package of at least several valued prospects or young, MLB-ready talent.

Only two teams — the Cardinals and San Diego Padres — are seen by league insiders who could be a match with that criteria. While Washington could perhaps let up its value asking price, the reality will likely be the team feels out the market and does the deed in the offseason.

Cubs Looking To Sell Ian Happ, Willson Contreras

The Chicago Cubs are once again in sell-mode. After a solid trade deadline last year — acquiring a bevy of prospects for names like Kris Bryant and Javier Baez — they’ll try to replicate the result with catcher Willson Contreras and outfielder Ian Happ.

Contreras, a three-time All-Star, is having a solid hitting year (14 home runs, .373 slugging percentage) but Passan notes some teams are wary. “Multiple teams, sources said, worry about Contreras — who is not known for his game-calling acumen — meshing with a new pitching staff on the fly,” he said.

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Of course, this is a new-look MLB, which helps Contreras’ case. With DH now in the NL, teams could acquire Contreras for his bat and give him occasional starts at catcher.

Meanwhile, Ian Happ has had a revival, batting .282/.366/.446 with nine home runs and 46 RBIs. Happ is controllable for 2023, is young (he turns just 28 next month), has solid defensive skills, and is a switch-hitter (he’s hitting .346 against left-hand pitching as a right-handed batter).

Among the other batters who could be moved include Kansas City’s Andrew Benintendi and Mike Moustakas (though with the latter likely as a salary dump), Washington’s Josh Bell, and Baltimore’s Trey Mancini.

Thanks To San Francisco Giants’ Alyssa Nikken, Women Coaching In MLB Is More Possible Than Ever

On April 12, San Francisco Giants’ first base coach Antoan Richardson was ejected from the game. In his place step assistant coach Alyssa Nikken, who became the first woman to coach in a Major League Baseball game. The historic achievement drew praise and hope for more women roles down the line.

Baseball Field

As Major League Baseball Continues To Negotiate A New CBA, Is A Lockout On The Horizon?

Despite the Atlanta Braves capping off the 2021 season with a World Series victory, the games are just beginning for Major League Baseball. On Dec. 2, the collective bargaining agreement — frequently referred to as the CBA — is set to expire, and many believe the league will be heading to its first stoppage in 26 years.

According to the Associated Press’ Ronald Blum, while negotiations between MLB owners and the MLB Players’ Association (MLBPA) have been taking place since last spring, each side believes the other has not made a proposal that would bring in a new CBA contract by 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 1.

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The stoppage would come at a crucial time, as free agents — which include stars such as Corey Seager, Javier Baez, Carlos Correa, Freddie Freeman, and Max Scherzer — would be left in a flux, and their agents aren’t quite sure what to expect. Blum explained MLB could start a signing freeze at the beginning of the lockout, or let the marketplace stop on its own.

Among the changes teams have suggested in proposals leading up to now include getting rid of salary arbitration — the yearly process where clubs and players negotiate a higher or lower salary based on recent comparable players and contracts — and allowing players to hit free agency after the age of 29 1/2, instead of after six years of service.

Meanwhile, propositions made by players include establishing mechanisms — such as a modified draft order and a revenue sharing system — that prevent teams from “tanking,” changing the way service time is calculated, increasing the minimum major league salary (which currently sits at $570,500), and changing the years required for arbitration eligibility from three to two.

Players also want payrolls to be taxed over $210 million while including surtaxes, and have rejected a payroll floor over the fear of a salary cap introduction. Blum notes that management’s proposal for the threshold to be lowered to $180 million could be a gridlock in many free agent negotiations.

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While the lockout could cause chaos in free agency, there isn’t any concern that games could be missed in either spring training or the regular season, which is still six months away. However, depending on how long the lockout lasts, teams could be forced to hurry up their typical offseason schedules and procedures.

In 2021, the average player salary was $4.17 million, and is projected to be down around $3.7 million on opening day of 2022. Meanwhile, the average MLB team’s payroll in 2021 was $99,423,297.

MLB hasn’t had a work stoppage since the 1994-95 strike, when the last 50 games of the regular season and the postseason were cancelled – however, there have been close calls when it’s come to CBA agreements deadlines.

Fans have also questioned MLB commissioner Rob Manfred’s job security as the league heads towards a likely freeze. CBS Sports’ Dayn Perry explains that the only way Manfred — just the 10th MLB commissioner ever – could lose the role is if he loses money for owners.

While highly unlikely, this could happen through multiple situations, such as “failing to maintain or carve out new economic territory” during CBA negotiations or in a new agreement.

MLB To Test New Experimental Rules In Minor Leagues

Robot umpires and larger bases are just some of the major changes the MLB will be testing out.

Baseball Stadium

Supreme Court Denies MLB Request To Dismiss Pay Increase Lawsuit With Minor Leagues

On Monday the Supreme Court denied Major League Baseball’s request to dismiss a lawsuit filed on behalf of minor league players who are seeking compensation for past hours already worked. The case of Senne versus the Royals was originally filed back in 2014 on behalf of former minor league player Aaron Senne, who aimed to bring in thousands of past and present players to receive compensation for spring training that they were denied or paid salaries that were below the poverty line. 

Garrett Broshuis is the attorney and former minor league player who filed the initial lawsuit, and recently claimed that there’s “no reason for players to be making $7,500 or $8,000 for the year.” 

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“The ultimate goal is pretty simple: to get MLB to comply with the same laws that Walmart and McDonald’s comply with. Whenever they ask players to go to spring training, they should be paying their employees for it.”

This is a longstanding issue within minor league baseball. Players are often paid below minimum wage for their given numbers of hours worked. If the minor league season wasn’t cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, players who were considered to be Triple-A players were projected to be paid  $700 per week played, Double-A players $600, Class A players $500 and Rookie League and short-season players $400. Lower-level players in 2019 earned about $290 a week and even with some players receiving raises, some were paid less than $5,000 for a full season; a staggering amount when compared to their major league counterparts. 

In August 2019, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit allowed the lawsuit to proceed as a class action suit which would allow former players to seek back pay that they are owed from previous seasons, and current players to receive compensation for the hours worked before the seasons cancellation. 

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The main issue lies in the minimum wage payments for these players. Back in 2018 lawmakers included the Save America’s Pastime Act in a $1.3 trillion spending bill. By including the Pastime Act in this bill, minor league players were directly stripped of their minimum wage protections, meaning their management could legally get away with paying them as little as they wanted. According to Broshuis, players typically are working 60 hours a week during an active season, and the law passing meant players could only be paid minimum wage for 40 hours a week.

“The law called for them to be paid minimum wage for 40 hours a week irrespective of the number of hours the employee devotes to baseball-related activities. The Save America’s Pastime Act was a horrible act, it was a misnomer. There was never a need for it.”

The Ninth Circuit ruling allowed players located in California, Arizona, and Florida to join the class lawsuit. These states are the homes of dozens of minor league teams and spring training facilities. No players, including major league, are paid for their spring training, however, MLB players are able to negotiate a salary through the MLB Players Association, the minor league teams don’t have any sort of union in place to help them negotiate potential payments. 

The Professional Baseball Agreement between MLB and Minor League Baseball expired at the end of September this year, meaning the MLB will now likely take control over the minor leagues. This will potentially lead to a merger of unions as well and could give the minor league players the chance at renegotiating their working arrangements for future seasons.

Baseball Player

MLB Postseason Games Will Be Played At Bubble Site

MLB has revealed this week that the World Series will be played entirely at the Texas Rangers new ballpark in Arlington, Texas. The division series, league championship series, and World Series will all be a part of the bubble experience in Texas as a means of reducing the risk of Covid-19 exposure. This is the first time the World Series will be played in its entirety at one location since 1944. 

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was recently interviewed by the Associated Press following the announcement on Tuesday, where he claimed MLB was already happy with the players responses to the health and safety protocols they’ve endured throughout this season, but this will make the entire staff working for the league feel even more secure. 

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“The elimination of travel is obviously positive because it cuts exposure. Less interaction outside with the group that you’re looking to protect is a huge positive.”

After playing the entire season in empty stadiums, MLB is also hoping by remaining in one remote location they’ll be able to reopen their doors to fill the ballparks at 25% distanced capacity. Other adjustments include the elimination of off days for the division and league championship series’. This decision is projected to impact each team’s decision making in regards to how many pitchers they’ll carry out for postseason games. 

The postseason also expanded from 10 to 16 days, and will begin with the top four seeds in each league that’s been hosting a wild-card series in their regular-season home ballparks. The final eight teams will shift to the bubble environments, according to union head Tony Clark. 

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“The agreement attempts to balance players’ experiences and concerns while making the accommodations necessary to best ensure a safe, healthy, and successful conclusion to the 2020 season.”

The AL Championship Series will be at San Diego’s Petco Park, and the National League Championship Series at Globe Life. The AL Division Series will be at Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium, and the NL Division Series at Globe Life and Houston’s Minute Maid Park. There’s no concrete plan to invite fans back into the stadiums for these series, but it is a goal nonetheless. 

MLB deputy commissioner Dan Halem recently sent a memo to all teams where he claimed that the players’ association were “in the process of finalizing details of the agreements” which includes testing players daily during the postseason. 

During the transition period between the regular season and postseason, any player who lives by themselves, or with a spouse/partner who is pregnant or has special medical needs may quarantine at home as long as they receive special documentation from a physician.

Only spouses, domestic partners, children, and child-care providers are allowed to stay with players while they quarantine during the transition period, according to Halem, and family members will not be allowed to enter the bubble site hotels unless they complete a supervised week-long quarantine period. 

Players can, however, have up to 6 family members stay at separate “family hotels” located at four various sites near the stadium.