In the week since we’ve last spoken, baseball, perhaps, has inched closer to possibly having a season.
Major League Baseball stopped all Spring Training activities in mid-March due to the Covid-19 breakout. Along with the rest of the sporting world, it has been in a limbo waiting to see if any of the leagues would be able to resume or start their seasons.
There are two main conditions that need to be met before baseball can return in any form. First, there needs to be adequate testing for all people involved, and second, a full and comprehensive plan for keeping all those people involved safe and healthy.
Apparently, Major League Baseball must be close to solving these keys issues. Rumor has it that players have been told to get ready to return to Spring Training in June, for a supposed July 1 return to play.
In his article, Jeff Passan says amongst other things that teams would resume Spring Training in their home ballparks. Whether there would also be exhibition games before the season formally starts is not stated. In such a scenario, it would be relatively easy for teams such as the Dodgers and Anaheim Angels, along with the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics to play a few games in the resumed Spring Training. This would not be as easy an endeavor for teams like the Colorado Rockies and Seattle Mariners.
Last week, we discussed what the new alignment of divisions might be, with the NL West and AL West playing each other for 100 games. This plan is to minimize travel as much as possible, even though the distance from Houston to Seattle is over 2,000 miles. Regardless, many of the teams are contained to the West Coast and aren’t too very far apart.
Another snag in this plan is money. The owners want the players to take a pro-rated pay, and presumably a new players agreement will have to be met and signed for the season to start. This would also include what the contingency plan is going forward, and whatever roster changes might be made. One proposed change is to have up to 50 men instead of the current 40-man roster, and have 30 players available for games.
If it can be achieved safely, it is very important for the Dodgers to have a season, at least as far as the free agent market goes. Currently, Alex Wood, Blake Treinen, Jimmy Nelson, and probably most importantly Mookie Betts are all only signed through the end of this season or on a one-year contract. In addition, Justin Turner and Enrique Hernandez will both see their current contracts with the Dodgers end after this season. For their tenures with the Dodgers to possibly end in not playing the 2020 season would be abject disappointment.
Regardless, any news of momentum is good news. “The recent spate of potential momentum is a thing that is going on. But no one knows if it’s real. No one knows if there are hurdles which are insurmountable,” Dodger CEO and team president Stan Kasten told Bill Plunkett at the OC Register. Passan mentioned in his article we might know more next week when a possible announcement is made. Hopefully, we will actually be closer to baseball by then.