According to multiple reports, Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association have reached a tentative agreement on key economic and labour-related factors relating to the 2020 season, which is currently paused due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
I’ve already written about two key issues from this agreement, the shortened version of the 2020 draft and the worst-case-scenario plan for service time in the event of the season being cancelled, so let’s go through everything else…
- MLB and the PA are aiming to play as close to a 162-game season as possible with 100 games being viewed as the bare minimum. The ideal starting date would be June 1 but it could also come as late as July 1.
- As part of the plan to play as full and normal of a season as possible, both sides have agreed to push regular-season games into October and post-season games into November. They’ve also discussed playing late-season games and post-season games in warmer, neutral locations.
- There has been discussion about expanding the playoff format in order to compensate for lost revenue, but that’ll ultimately be something determined at a later date depending on when the season possibly gets started and how many regular-season games can be fit into the schedule.
- There’ll be an increase in double-headers in order to fit as many games into the schedule as possible. Apparently, we could see a weekly double-header, but, again, we’ll get a better idea once a starting date is determined.
- As a result, teams will have an expanded roster for the first month of play. Rather than having 29 players on their roster, they’ll be allowed 29 players for one month, giving teams the ability to carry an expanded bullpen.
- It seems that when they’re given the green light, players will work out at their team’s own home ballparks in order to reduce the expenses of having to send everybody back to Florida and Arizona to do a multi-week spring training.
I’ll be honest, I have a really, really hard time looking at the United States right now and seeing a situation in which there’s baseball up and rolling in June. It’s great that MLB and the PA are optimistic and are operating together in order to come up with a plan that salvages the majority of the season, I just have a difficult time wrapping my head around it happening.
I mean, how close are we to this…?
The players and league agreed the 2020 MLB season won't begin until:
– There are no bans on mass gatherings that limit the ability to play in front of fans*
– There are no travel restrictions
– Medical experts determine games will not pose a risk to health of teams and fans
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 27, 2020
Anyways… Let’s stick to the confines of this news report rather than speculating about if it’ll even be possible.
Most of this is what had already been discussed, so there aren’t any surprises here. MLB and the PA obviously both want to maximize the number of games played so they can maximize the amount of cash made off of the season. The new and interesting thing here is the 29-man roster for the first month of the season. That could explain why the Blue Jays randomly optioned three more players down to Triple-A yesterday, leaving them with exactly 29 players on their current active roster.
This group of 29 players surely wouldn’t be the 29 they rolled into a season with, though. They’re carrying eight outfielders right now and you have to expect a couple of non-roster pitchers (A.J. Cole, Marc Rzepczynski) are going to be given Major League contracts at some point. There’s obviously no rush to DFA anybody right now, so the decision as to who comes off the 40-man to make room for whichever pitchers the Jays end up adding to the roster can come when the season actually gets rolling again.