Randal Grichuk has been openly critical of negotiations between the players and the MLB, and he’s the right Blue Jay player to be speaking up.
It’s no secret that negotiations between the league and the player’s union haven’t been going very well, as the fight has become more public by the day. It’s been going on for weeks now, with several notable big leaguers speaking their minds on social media, and lately the Blue Jays have had one of their own joining the chorus in Randal Grichuk.
I’m typically not a fan of negotiations going public, and you’ll find the same sentiment with a lot of the players through this process. That said, things have reached a point where you can’t blame the them for speaking up, and fortunately for the Blue Jays, the right veteran has taken that role for this young club.
I say that because the Blue Jays are a fairly unique team right now. The faces of their franchise in Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and others have less than a year of MLB experience under their belts. It’s a bit of an unwritten rule that you have to earn your stripes before you can speak your mind as a pro, and most of the Blue Jays’ young stars probably aren’t there just yet, at least not on a league-wide level. Ideally that would come from a more veteran voice.
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The Blue Jays really don’t have a lot of players that would fit that description, and even fewer when it comes to returning players in their uniform. They added new veterans this past off-season in Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, Chase Anderson, Joe Panik, and Travis Shaw, but they really didn’t get much chance to get to know their new teammates before spring training was shut down.
For someone like Grichuk, as a six-year MLB veteran he’s now reached a point where his opinion will be more respected by his peers. He also has the advantage of having a good relationship with his young teammates, and by extension, having the ability to speak up on their behalf too. It’s not as if someone like Bichette can’t speak for himself, but as a young player in the league, it’s easier if a veteran leader from your clubhouse handles that sort of task.
It’s extremely frustrating that there may not be a MLB season, especially because it appears that the biggest hurdle is the negotiations between the league and the player’s union. That’s tough to accept during a worldwide pandemic, and you can’t blame players like Grichuk for being frustrated about it. In addition, the outfielder is set to lose more than most of his teammates this year based on the structure of his contract with the Blue Jays. After earning seven million in 2019, he was slated to make 12 million this year, which would have been the highest earning season of his career. Unfortunately for Grichuk his salary dips back down to $9,333,333 annually from 2021-2023, and while that’s nothing to complain about, I’m sure he’s not thrilled about how this is playing out.
The whole situation has been unfortunate in almost every way, from minor leaguers losing their jobs (and in some cases their pay cheque), to the potential for a disastrous negotiation of the next CBA after the 2021 season. Thankfully for the Blue Jays, the right veteran voice is speaking up to defend the players in all of this. It’s not a pretty job, but someone’s gotta do it.