Players for the Boston Red Sox have reached an agreement with Major League Baseball to continue with their trip to Japan to play two games against the Oakland A’s after a dispute earlier today over compensation to coaches and club house staff for the trip.
According to the Boston Globe and other media outlets, the coaches and others will be paid, but specifics about the agreement were not readily available. Initial reports said the Red Sox players were threatening to boycott the trip if the coaches and staff did not receive the same $40,000 per person that they were slated to receive. Whether MLB, or the players, were paying the stipend for the coaches and staff was not immediately disclosed, only that a deal had been reached.
“Everyone connected with the trip will be fairly compensated,” Rich Levin, a spokesperson for MLB, told ESPN.
The Red Sox players are scheduled to fly to Japan tonight for the games next week, and they held up their last spring training game in U.S. today, against the Toronto Blue Jays, for more than an hour while the matter was discussed.
Media reports said the A’s had also agreed to a boycott, but that speculation was not confirmed as other outlets said the A’s simply supported the Red Sox decision. Whether the A’s coaches and staff will be paid, too, was not immediately known, but it was believed that that would be the case.
The incident was a bit of an embarrassment for the league, which markets the games heavily in Japan, especially since wildly popular Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka is scheduled to pitch one of the games. Over the past several years, MLB has increased its marketing of the league in Japan as more Japanese players have made successful transitions to the U.S. game.