Chris Johnson Gets Paid; DeSean Jackson, Probably Not

Chris Johnson Gets Paid; DeSean Jackson, Probably Not

As the calendar turns ever closer to the opening of training camp and start of football season, there are still dozens of disgruntled players around the league who are stuck in unfair contracts. They're unable to negotiate new contracts with their respective clubs due to the uncertainty with the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and the rules currently in place that limit player movement and the amount of money teams can offer certain athletes. I'm sure you're all very concerned about their plight.

Among the players who either threatened to hold out or have already, and probably the most egregious example of the underpaid, was Chris Johnson. Last year the Tennessee running back became the sixth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards, yet he was slated to enter this season as the lowest paid runner on the roster.

The Titans finally said no mas and caved to Johnson's demands... sort of. The 2010 Offensive Player of the Year gets a salary bump for the upcoming season, but does it affect somebody like DeSean Jackson, who has also made it known he is looking for a reworked deal?

The Inquirer's Jeff McLane explains it's "unlikely." While Chris Johnson and DeSean are similar in that they are both entering their third year in the league, and have had explosive impacts the previous two seasons, for starters they are playing under two very different contracts. Johnson, who went late in the first round of the draft, is locked up in a five year deal and has a ways to go before he can become a free agent, while Jackson received a shorter four year offer in the second round.

According to McLane's sources, the thinking is the Eagles won't bother to renegotiate with DeSean because he'll already be on the final year of his existing contract in 2011, which is when teams generally try to work on extensions anyway.

A holdout or even publicly asking for a restructured deal would not benefit Jackson, who has one less year on his deal than Johnson and thus a shorter road to free agency. And once you're a good player - which Jackson obviously is - the most valuable thing you can have is a shorter road to free agency.

The other issue at hand for Jackson is CJ didn't really win his battle. Instead, he's merely been temporarily appeased. The back is now slated to earn $2.5 million in 2010, which is far better than $500k he would have earned otherwise, but it's far from representative of one of the most dynamic players in the league. Not only that, but the team technically didn't even give him a raise. They simply moved money from the final year of the current deal into this season.

That type of settlement isn't really indicative of DJac or other unhappy players suddenly striking it rich. It seems organizations have their hands tied in many of these cases, while some may just be content to point to the lack of a CBA one year from now. Luckily, McLane seems to come to the conclusion DeSean won't have too much of a problem with all of this.

Jackson's best route, according to the league source, is to wait another year before asking for a new contract.

>> McLane: Unhappy Jackson unlikely to get revised deal [Inquirer]

Best of MLB: Chris Sale misses strikeout record, but Red Sox rally for win

Best of MLB: Chris Sale misses strikeout record, but Red Sox rally for win

BOSTON -- Dustin Pedroia waved home the tiebreaking run on a wild pitch, then singled in two more during Boston's seven-run seventh inning on Wednesday night and the Red Sox beat the Texas Rangers 9-4 for their third straight victory.

Chris Sale (5-2) struck out six, falling short in his attempt to become the first pitcher in baseball's modern era to strike out at least 10 batters in nine straight games in one season. He allowed three earned runs, six hits and a walk in 7 1/3 innings and received more runs of support in the seventh inning alone than in any previous game this season.

Sam Dyson (1-5) faced seven batters in relief of Martin Perez and gave up four hits, three walks -- two intentional -- and a wild pitch without retiring a batter. Mike Napoli homered for Texas, which has lost three of four to follow a 10-game winning streak (see full recap).

Ellsbury hurt as Yankees blank Royals
NEW YORK -- Helped by a great first-inning catch that forced center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury from the game with a concussion and sprained neck, Luis Severino won for the first time in a month and led the New York Yankees over the Kansas City Royals 3-0 on Wednesday night.

On the first pitch of the game, Ellsbury sprinted 107 feet and raised his glove above his head to catch Alcides Escobar's fly. Ellsbury's head jarred into the wall as the ball landed in his glove, and he crumpled to the field.

Ellsbury was checked by manager Joe Girardi and head athletic trainer Steve Donohue and remained in the game, then was replaced by Aaron Hicks starting the second.

Didi Gregorius homered against Jason Hammel (1-6) leading off the third inning, Gregorius' seventh hit in a span of 12 at-bats.

His fastball reaching 99 mph, Severino (3-2) allowed four hits over eight innings, struck out seven, walked one and threw a career-high 114 pitches.

Dellin Betances struck out the side in a perfect ninth for his fourth save (see full recap).

Rendon, Roark help Nationals beat Mariners
WASHINGTON -- Anthony Rendon hit a three-run homer for his eighth of the season, Tanner Roark allowed a run over seven innings and the Washington Nationals defeated the Seattle Mariners 5-1 on Wednesday night.

Rendon has three homers and eight RBIs in the Nationals' two victories to open this three-game series.

Roark (4-2) completed seven innings for the first time in seven starts and held the Mariners to 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position.

Mariners rookie Sam Gaviglio (0-1) allowed all five runs -- one earned -- over six innings as the Mariners lost their fifth straight.

Seattle's Robinson Cano went 3 for 4, including an RBI single and a double that center fielder Michael Taylor's glove prevented from being a home run.

Rendon had gone 12 games without an RBI before the series. But after driving in five runs Tuesday, he drove in three more to help Washington grab a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the first (see full recap).

Instant Replay: Rockies 7, Phillies 2

Instant Replay: Rockies 7, Phillies 2

BOX SCORE

The Phillies' miserable May continued in a 7-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night.

The Phillies were out-hit, 11-1, over the first seven innings.

The Rockies hit for the cycle in the third inning on their way to scoring seven times against Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson.

Phillies starting pitchers have an ERA of 6.39 in the month of May, second worst in baseball in that time.

The Phillies have lost five in a row, 9 of 10 and 20 of their last 24 games. They have the fewest wins in baseball at 15-29.

The Rockies lead the National League at 31-17. They go for a four-game sweep on Thursday. They have outscored the Phillies 23-5 in the first three games of the series.

The Phillies have scored just five runs in their last four games.

Starting pitching report
Hellickson allowed eight baserunners on six hits and two walks in the Rockies' seven-run third inning. He gave up a double, a triple, a homer and three singles in the frame. The homer was a three-run shot by Carlos Gonzalez on a 2-1 changeup.

Hellickson is 5-2 with a 4.28 ERA in 10 starts this season. He went went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five starts in April. His ERA in five starts in May is 7.30.

Colorado starter Tyler Chatwood, who entered the game with a 5.09 ERA, pitched seven shutout innings and gave up just one hit. He walked four and struck out eight.

Rockies starting pitchers have pitched 20 innings in this series and given up just two runs.

Bullpen report
Adam Morgan pitched three scoreless innings for the Phillies.

Mike Dunn gave up two runs in the eighth to lose Colorado's shutout bid.

At the plate
The Phils went hitless until Andrew Knapp singled with two outs in the fifth. They entered the bottom of the eighth inning with just one hit. They got two hits in the inning, including a two-run homer from Michael Saunders, and finished the game with three.

Charlie Blackmon did not hit a home run — he entered with seven in his previous five games at Citizens Bank Park — but he did have a two-run single in the third. Gonzalez's three-run homer was the big blow.

In the field
The Phillies made an error and had a runner picked off in the first inning. Catcher Knapp threw out a would-be base stealer in the first inning.

Rehab road
Howie Kendrick started a minor-league rehab assignment with Triple A Lehigh Valley on Wednesday night. He is expected to play four games and get time in left field and at first and third base. His work at third base could affect Maikel Franco, who was benched again Wednesday night (see story).

Roster move
Morgan was optioned to Triple A Lehigh Valley after the game. A corresponding roster move will be made Thursday.

Up next
The series concludes on Thursday afternoon. Vince Velasquez (2-4, 5.98) pitches for the Phillies against Colorado lefty Tyler Anderson (3-4, 6.00).