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Coronavirus: How will it affect the 2020 MLB season?

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  • In the event that the season cannot start until July, maybe the schedule could be re-worked so that the remainder of what was scheduled would be played, and then for October and November, another 50 games could be played at each team's Spring Training sites. Then, everybody is playing at neutral sites where the weather should be okay. Because it would be football season, spring training venues would be more than big enough, and costs would be low with all travel being in Florida or the Metro Phoenix area. The farthest any two Cactus League sites are is 45 minutes. Teams could stay in their facilities just like Spring Training to finish the season, and then the playoffs could be Cactus Champ vs. Grapefruit Champ.

    Face it, if the NFL and college football seasons begin, Major League Baseball will be lucky to get the coverage that the women's professional golf tour gets. The three main professional leagues in football, the NFC, the AFC, and the SEC, dominate sports until their seasons end.


    • Originally posted by dominik View Post

      If there is no fans and thus no gate revenue why travel so much at all? You could use a limited amount of stadiums rather close to each other and play 2-3 games per day and stadium. That way you could avoid a lot of travel.

      bay area would work for example, use Anaheim, LA, SF, SD and Oakland and do all the games there. For that time players are living there and only have short rides to the stadiums.

      With 5 stadiums and 2 games per stadium you could do 10 games per day, maybe more if you make some 3 game shifts.
      If there are no fans, and you want to minimize travel, why not just play the games at the spring training sites, in Florida and Arizona?

      Edit: I see Wes has a similar suggestion. The ST sites are ideal in terms of weather and reduced travel.


      • An unnamed Red Sox minor leaguer has tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced Tuesday.
        The Mets have the best, smartest fans in baseball.


        • MLB, union weighing variables for potential restart of season

          The Mets have the best, smartest fans in baseball.


          • Originally posted by dgarza View Post

            A December World Series! LOL
            Scott Boras pitches 162-game MLB schedule with a World Series game on Christmas
            The Mets have the best, smartest fans in baseball.


            • Happy Opening Day.

              MLB opening day: 10 things we’ll miss with no games due to coronavirus


              PHOENIX -- This was the day the Los Angeles Dodgers were going to begin the season resurrecting memories of Kirk Gibson and Orel Hershiser from their glorious World Series championship season 32 years ago, with the unveiling of Mookie Betts.

              This was the day the Washington Nationals were stepping onto the field for the first time as reigning World Series champions, the first baseball team in D.C. to win the title since 1924.

              This was the day the New York Yankees were going to unveil Gerrit Cole, the richest pitcher in history, stepping onto the mound against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards, showing why he’s worth every penny of his $324 million contract.

              This was going to be opening day, with all 30 teams scheduled to play Thursday, the earliest opening day in baseball history.

              Instead, every ballpark will be empty.

              No fans.

              No players.

              No games.

              Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, despite the coronavirus pandemic that has shut down the sports world, still believes there will be an opening day this season.

              He just has no idea of when.

              The best-case scenario, MLB executives believe, will be June 1, playing regular-season games through the All-Star break and into October, with a postseason ending in November.

              A more reasonable timetable: July 1.

              The worst case? See you in 2021.

              Opening day was scheduled to start at 1 p.m. (ET) Thursday with the Nationals playing the New York Mets at Citi Field with Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer on the mound, and ending at 10:10 p.m. (ET) when Madison Bumgarner made his Arizona Diamondbacks’ debut against the Atlanta Braves at Chase Field.

              Now, we are left with Mets star pitcher Noah Syndergaard’s scheduled Tommy John elbow surgery being the most important outcome on opening day, lamenting on the top 10 things we’ll miss with no games.

              1. The epicenter of the baseball world was going to be in Houston, with everyone wondering how the Astros would be treated by their own fans, let alone the Los Angeles Angels, in the first game since revelation of their cheating scandal. Joe Maddon, joining the Angels after his bitter divorce from the Chicago Cubs, insisted he didn’t want any of his pitchers to retaliate. Yet, there wasn’t a soul who believed the Astros wouldn’t be hit at some point during this series.

              2. This was going to be an opening-day matchup for the ages: Scherzer and deGrom going mano a mano. These two aces have won five Cy Young awards, and combined to win the last four National League Cy Young awards. Forget pitch counts and innings limits. It wouldn’t have surprised a soul to see each of them pitch complete games, with the final score, 1-0.

              3. The Yankees, who spent the winter and spring seething that the Astros cost them two potential World Series berths, were ready to take all of their anger out on the lowly Orioles. And Cole, the man they acquired to take them to the top, was just the man to unleash the fury, with aspirations of joining Hall of Famer Bob Feller as the only pitchers in history to throw a no-hitter on opening day.

              4. The Dodgers were going to take the field against their archrival San Francisco Giants, with two organizations on the opposite ends of expectations. The Dodgers, ready to show off their winter prize of former MVP Mookie Betts and former Cy Young winner David Price at Dodger Stadium, have a World Series-or-bust mantra. For the Giants, they’re in a rebuild for the first time in a decade, and it’s “Wait ‘til 2023?’

              5. The Cincinnati Reds, who traditionally had opening day to themselves, were ready to unveil their most talented team since their last postseason berth in 2013. No more rebuilding or stockpiling the minor leagues. The future is now. Trevor Bauer was going to take the mound against Jack Flaherty and the defending NL Central division champion St. Louis Cardinals and show everyone the Reds are for real.

              6. The Chicago White Sox, one of only four teams who failed to make the postseason this past decade, went all in. They dropped $190 million on free agents Yasmani Grandal, Jose Abreu, Dallas Keuchel and Edwin Encarnacion, and another $136 million on extensions for Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert and Aaron Bummer. Maybe it wasn’t enough to overtake the Minnesota Twins, but they were ready to show the hype is real, starting with a home game against the Kansas City Royals.

              7. The Twins stunned all of baseball by running away with the AL Central last season, winning 101 games, and shattering the all-time home run record with 307. And they got even better, signing former MVP Josh Donaldson as a free agent to be a tag-team partner with the ageless Nelson Cruz, who hit 41 homers last year. They were going to be put on full display against the Oakland A’s.

              8. Bumgarner, particularly after his secret rodeo circuit gig was blown this spring, badly wanted to prove he is the man who could return the Diamondbacks to greatness. He believed he was going to get at least $100 million in free agency during the winter, wound up accepting a five-year, $85 million deferred deal with the D-backs, and was ready to show the Braves and everyone what they were missing.

              9. Nolan Arenado was going to be playing in his last opening-day game for the Colorado Rockies against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park in front of his Southern California friends and family. Arenado, angry and frustrated with the Rockies for standing still during the winter despite coming off a 71-91 season, was convinced he’d be gone by the July 31 trade deadline. Now, with no idea whether there will be a season, let alone a summer trade deadline, Arenado’s future is even further muddied.

              10. The Philadelphia Phillies, with new manager Joe Girardi, were ready to show off their new pitching prize with Zack Wheeler, their $118 million purchase in free agency. They believed this is the year they finally would return to greatness, starting with a rout over the rebuilding Miami Marlins, and what better place for Wheeler to make his debut. He is 7-3 with a 1.91 ERA against the Marlins, and has never lost a game in six starts in Marlins Park, yielding a 1.55 ERA, permitting just 19 hits in 40 ⅔ innings.

              Follow Nightengale on Twitter @Bnightengale

              Last edited by milladrive; 03-26-2020, 08:32 PM.
              Put it in the books.


              • Uniforms into masks and gowns. What a terrific idea.

                Put it in the books.


                • A coupla ESPNers' take on how each team will be most affected by the shutdown. A pretty interesting read.

                  Put it in the books.


                  • I think we are going to see a very long shutdown. Thankfully, has opened the 2018 and 2019 archives. I've begun turning on Dodger games from last year when Cody Bellinger was going amazingly well. Since I normally watch every game 1 day late anyway, to get around the blackout, I've found this to be a nice change from sitting in my house with nothing to keep me company. After a few minutes you can forget about the shutdown, well mostly.

                    Try it out. I think you can get a free trial right now. I'm paid up so I don't know. But the streaming on my $30 roku is just about perfect and unlike other ways to stream, say on a PC, you can skip over the ads.


                    • When MLB is able to start their season, teams are expected to expand their rosters from 26 players to 29 players the first month they begin playing games.

                      The Mets have the best, smartest fans in baseball.


                      • Players union says it's willing to discuss playing in empty stadiums, neutral sites, etc.


                        • Originally posted by Stolensingle View Post
                          Players union says it's willing to discuss playing in empty stadiums, neutral sites, etc.
                          Good. Truth be told, I'd not be against it. Under normal circumstances I probably wouldn't approve, but these aren't normal circumstances. Whatever works, so long as no one gets sick from it.

                          Put it in the books.



                            What the MLB deal with players means for 2020 season and beyond

                            Jeff Passan and Kiley McDaniel

                            Following round-the-clock negotiations since the coronavirus outbreak postponed the beginning of the season, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association struck a deal Friday that outlined how the sport would proceed in the coming months. The players gained certainty that even in a lost season they would be granted full service time. The league received significant financial hedges and control over how baseball would resume play.

                            It was a significant agreement with enormous implications that go beyond 2020. Let's unpack the full breadth of its consequences.

                            What does this agreement cover?

                            Almost every issue of significance to the sport as it tries to navigate this confusing moment in history: the resumption of play and scheduling, service time, player pay, amateur talent, arbitration, debt service and the luxury tax, among other issues.

                            Why was it necessary?

                            With MLB's original Opening Day scheduled for Thursday (March 26), the league faced a deadline on how it would handle player contracts. Paragraph 11 of the uniform player contract allows commissioner Rob Manfred to suspend deals in the case of a national emergency, which President Donald Trump declared March 13. Had the agreement not been agreed upon by the players Thursday and ratified by owners Friday, Manfred could have invoked Paragraph 11. Neither he nor the players wanted to display such myopia in the midst of a health crisis, so the incentive for both sides to compromise was strong.

                            So when is baseball coming back?

                            While that remains unclear, the agreement, obtained by ESPN, illustrates how baseball might go about returning to the field.

                            Before anything else, it addresses resumption of play and says both parties will work in good faith to "complete the fullest 2020 championship season and postseason that is economically feasible." The agreement outlines three necessities to start the 2020 season, though it offers significant caveats that allow Manfred -- in consultation with the union -- to override them.

                            1. No governmental edicts on mass gatherings that would prevent teams from playing in their home stadiums;

                            2. No travel restrictions in the United States or Canada;

                            3. The determination, after talking with health experts and the union, that playing does not expose players, staff or fans to health risks.

                            The caveats are the key to this seminal part of the agreement: Manfred, it says, can consider the use of neutral sites instead of home stadiums as well as the possibility of playing in front of no fans. Though not ideal, games with no fans in areas that are not coronavirus hot spots provide the clearest path toward games being played.

                            Let's say the curve flattens, medical facilities are no longer overrun and a national recovery begins. What is the first step?

                            There are three obvious ones that should happen simultaneously: map out a schedule that covers the regular season and postseason, bring players to training camps, and execute a detailed plan that does its best to ensure the safety and health of every team.

                            What does a potential schedule look like?

                            That remains completely TBD. The agreement illustrates just how open-minded both parties are to achieving a shared goal: as much baseball as possible.

                            MLB is willing to amend roster rules to ensure a shortened Spring Training 2.0 -- games could begin as soon as two weeks after players report back to camps to prepare for the season -- doesn't leave teams hurting for innings because starting pitchers aren't stretched out. Players are willing to schedule more doubleheaders to squeeze in as many games as possible. Both were fine with the regular season stretching into October and the postseason into November. A neutral-site World Series in a warm-weather location? Sure. Expanded playoffs of a new, and potentially unique, variety? Yup.

                            "Players want to play," said Tony Clark, the executive director of the MLBPA. "That's what they do. And being able to get back on the field and being able to play, even if that means their fans are watching at home, is something they've all expressed a desire and interest to do and to do as soon as possible."

                            The best-case scenario seems to be that players head to camp in mid-May and target a return in early June. That might be wishful. But it's where they are for now. And if they do, then a 130-game schedule is not out of the realm of possibility. It's quite optimistic, though, and anywhere from 80 to 100 games would be a huge win.

                            Is keeping players healthy really possible?

                            Tough to say. In Japan, where Nippon Professional Baseball had postponed its March 20 opening day until April 24, star pitcher Shintaro Fujinami tested positive for the coronavirus Thursday along with two of his Hanshin Tigers teammates. The rest of the team is in quarantine, and the Tigers canceled practices through at least April 1. NPB secretary general Atsushi Ihara said the league still planned to open on the 24th.

                            Would MLB do the same? What if an outbreak happened inside a clubhouse in July? Or during a pennant race? Or in the postseason? As much as these are hypotheticals, they are also questions MLB must ask itself before returning. The agreement does give at least a sliver of insight into the possibility, saying that Manfred can suspend or cancel games after the season starts provided "there is a change in circumstances."

                            Why does everyone so badly want to play?

                            Well, for one, because baseball rules.

                            Beyond that, every day without a game is a day without money flowing into the league's coffers and players' pockets. The coronavirus could wipe out billions of dollars in revenue after a record-setting financial year, and while players are not guaranteed a percentage of those revenues because MLB does not operate on a salary-capped system, salaries typically ebb and flow with the financial health of the sport.

                            Especially acute to the sport's financial standing are cash-poor franchises that already have considered laying off or furloughing employees. Manfred secured promises this week from all teams that they would continue to pay their employees through at least April. Job cuts could arrive in May, if there is no season scheduled, and nobody in the sport wants that. The fear among employees across the sport already is palpable, and if baseball desires to be a healing agent for the nation -- and it does -- saving jobs is a good start.

                            Since the schedule is more or less up to this pathogen about which we still don't know very much, what do we know?

                            Players cared deeply about the doomsday scenario. Service time, which awards players for days spent in the major leagues and goes toward determining free agency, arbitration eligibility and pension, was their focal point -- particularly service time in the event of a lost season.

                            For days, the union insisted that major league players receive full service regardless of the outcome. When MLB relented -- thus guaranteeing Mookie Betts, J.T. Realmuto, George Springer, Trevor Bauer and Marcus Stroman, among many others, the right to be free agents this winter -- the deal went from probable to near-certainty.

                            Only players who logged an entire season of major league service last year will receive the full year in the doomsday scenario. If a season is played, a full year of service can be earned even if the season is shorter than the typical 172 days to reach that milestone.

                            So players got service time. Are they getting paid now, too?

                            Their salaries for 2020 will be prorated. If teams play an 81-game schedule, players will get 50% of their full, agreed-upon money. If they play 120 games, they will receive 74%. Performance-bonus clauses will be prorated too.

                            If the season is canceled, the only payment players will receive is the $170 million advance teams guaranteed players to be distributed in April and May. The money is essentially a down payment on salaries for 2020. Should games be played, it will be factored into paychecks. If no games are played, the players get to keep the $170 million without repayment.

                            The agreement adds that players cannot sue for their salaries -- an important distinction even though Paragraph 11 almost certainly would have held up in a grievance setting.

                            Who among the players wins biggest in this scenario?

                            All major league players who have reached arbitration and thus do not have contracts with a different salary whether they are in the major leagues or minor leagues. They will receive $5,000 a day in April and May -- or about $150,000 a month.

                            Where does the remainder of the money go?

                            There are three other classes of players, as defined by the MLBPA's plan to split the advance.

                            A young star like Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals has what is called a split contract, which calls for him to be paid $629,400 in the major leagues and $289,150 in the minor leagues. Players with split deals for more than $150,000 in the minor leagues will receive $1,000 a day -- or around $60,000.

                            Stud rookie Bo Bichette of the Toronto Blue Jays is on a split deal, with a minor league salary that's in the $91,800 to $149,999 range. He'll get $500 a day -- half of what Soto is making and 10% of a veteran.

                            Top prospect Cristian Pache, whom the Atlanta Braves added to their 40-man roster this winter, is on the minimum for a split deal: $46,000. Those on split deals under $91,800 will be paid $275 a day, or somewhere in the neighborhood of $16,500.

                            Those who lose the worst are non-roster invitees and current free agents. Non-roster players who signed minor league deals hoping to get added to a 40-man roster for Opening Day don't get a penny, though the union is considering ways to financially assist such players. And current free agents are prohibited from signing thanks to the roster freeze that went into effect upon the owners' ratification of the agreement.

                            What else?

                            So much else!

                            • The arbitration system will be adjusted to consider lessened counting statistics because of the shorter season, and salaries secured during the 2021 offseason through arbitration won't be used in the precedent-based system going forward.

                            • The MLBPA gave up the right to challenge Manfred's enforcement of the debt-service rule, which is supposed to limit teams' debt to 10 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. Translation: Teams may borrow money to stave off financial problems, and MLB and the players are fine with that.

                            • When determining which teams have exceeded luxury-tax thresholds, the league will base it on what full-season salaries were supposed to be, not prorated salary payment. The taxes paid, however, will be on a prorated basis. And if there is no season, there will be no taxes owed, implying every team would reset to the lowest competitive balance tax threshold.

                            • Depending on when the season starts, players believe the All-Star Game could be eliminated.

                            The what could be what?

                            As if this whole situation wasn't already bad enough for the Los Angeles Dodgers. First they could lose Betts without him playing a single non-spring training game in a Dodgers uniform (if the season is canceled, that is). Now they might get rid of the All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium, too? If the season starts July 1, stopping it 11 days later for the Home Run Derby and an exhibition game doesn't exactly make a ton of sense.

                            How should MLB handle a shortened season?

                            Around the Home discusses the different possibilities the MLB can do with a shortened season.

                            Poor Los Angeles, right?

                            There's a solution here, you know. Not one that would make up for possibly losing Betts or the All-Star Game or both but one that at least lessens the sting. If baseball is played this year, it's almost assuredly going to have a neutral-site World Series. What better place than Dodger Stadium? Los Angeles loves baseball. The stadium is a gem. The weather is perfect. It makes too much sense not to happen.

                            Back to the agreement. So there are draft changes?

                            Of all the points in the deal, this one caused the most consternation, because amateurs historically get short shrift in these agreements. Owners want to suppress amateurs' salaries. And no amateurs are part of the MLBPA, so their interests often do not dovetail with those of a union of professionals.

                            MLB has the right to move the 2020 MLB draft back from June 10 to as late as July 20, with a signing date as late as Aug. 1. A concrete date hasn't been set yet. The rounds have been reduced from 40 to as few as five, though Manfred has the option to increase that number at his discretion -- and might do so if games are being played and revenue is coming in. MLB also can shorten the 2021 draft to as few as 20 rounds and move it to the same dates.

                            In both years, the payment of draft bonuses will be delayed significantly. While signing-bonus slot values will remain the same as the 2019 draft -- typically, they increase 3% to 4% annually depending on revenues -- the maximum up-front payment in 2020 and 2021 will be $100,000 within 30 days of an approved contract. Fifty percent of the remaining value will be paid on July 1 the next year, then the balance on July 1 two years later.

                            Undrafted players cannot get more than $20,000, even if a team is under its allotted draft pool, in both the 2020 and 2021 drafts. This would be especially onerous in a five-round draft, and executives and agents agree there would be significant financial jockeying by teams starting in perhaps the third round. For example, consider a fourth-round pick with a slot value of around $500,000. A club could call a player and tell him it will pay him $200,000 if he agrees to sign at that pick. If the player doesn't accept that amount, he runs the risk of going undrafted and maxing out at 10% of that. It's a difficult gamble to take -- and while teams could use that extra $300,000 to pay a higher-round pick, they also have the option of not spending the money at all.

                            For both the 2020 and 2021 drafts, MLB has the right to organize voluntary showcases for players -- essentially a combine. Players on MLB's Top 300 Medical Information Program -- used to pool medical info for clubs on top prospects -- may not provide exclusive data or video to one team without also offering it to MLB to be shared with all teams.

                            To curb the selling of draft picks, the agreement nullifies teams' ability to trade competitive-balance selections, previously the only ones that could be traded, in the 2020 or 2021 drafts. In the 2020 MLB season, if every team plays fewer than 81 games, the commissioner has the right, after negotiating with the MLBPA, to change the draft order for the 2021 draft.

                            Why change the draft?

                            The reason is to save money and pave the way for a new draft system, which MLB was hoping to achieve in the next collective bargaining agreement. In 2019, the total value of bonus pools was $266,480,400. The slot values of the first five rounds were $238,094,400. That's a savings of $946,200 per team for 2020 and 2021.

                            There won't be a mess of $125,000 bonuses handed out after the 10th round, which ran up total expenditures for teams but didn't count against their draft pool. While clubs are still paying their scouts, travel budgets will be far lower than in 2019.

                            What was the reaction to the draft changes?

                            Agent Scott Boras, a longtime advocate for draft rights, lashed out, telling The Athletic: "It's unconscionable the owners in this climate would reduce the collectively bargained money given to drafted players in the top rounds. I don't mind them reducing the rounds. That's not the issue. It's reducing the payments to those players. To cut their bonuses in this climate and use a pandemic situation in our country as a means to do that, I really find it unconscionable."

                            Sound though Boras' point might have been, it registered as tone deaf to a wide grouping of people around the league, particularly with millions of Americans suddenly unemployed and the crux of his point that amateurs wouldn't be getting a raise.

                            "Everyone is entitled to their opinion," Clark said. "The players were committed to preserving entry in some form, which was quite different than what was being represented from the other side. Eventually we reached a compromise. It wasn't perfect."

                            Which teams can take advantage of undrafted free agents?

                            Two types of teams: legacy franchises and ones with robust player-development systems. This could be a jackpot for the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees, both of whom are industry leaders in player development and have enough brand value to entice players to sign with them. With the $20,000 maximum, other teams could entice undrafted players with simple opportunity. The sales pitch: If the money is the same everywhere, come to the team that's going to make you better. In other words, make the best of a bad situation.

                            How does this affect amateur baseball?

                            For amateur players, it is just a lot of bad news. Those inclined to sign and turn pro in the 2020 draft might receive similar money to last year, and it will be paid over a two-year period without interest. The loss is marginal but real. The college junior set to sign for $300,000 after the fifth round, who turned down some money out of high school in anticipation of this day, gets hit the hardest. It's either $20,000 this year or probably the same as a senior next year, due to reduced negotiating leverage. Not to mention the fact that college coaches might prefer to spend some of their 11.7 scholarships on incoming freshmen who can contribute for three years rather than keep a senior.

                            It will be a boon for college baseball because of the surfeit of talent. Fewer high school prospects will turn pro. College juniors can return to school. Same for seniors, if granted extra eligibility. It might get ugly trying to make a new roster amid all of a college coaching staff's prior assumptions and commitments, but there will be more talent across the board.

                            The Division I council will vote on Monday about roster relief. Programs could get extra spots to handle the change. Redshirting and junior colleges will be the way to manage this influx of players to college baseball, and it's possible independent leagues or Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball could be an option, as they have occasionally been in the past.

                            "Juco baseball is going to be amazing next year," one longtime scout said.

                            How will players be scouted this year? Weren't all the games canceled?

                            It's unclear exactly how this will play out, with so much uncertain regarding the gathering of people in public places. If games can be played, college players will go to summer leagues -- the Cape Cod League being the top option -- and high schoolers will play in a number of showcases and tournaments as they normally do over the summer. A potential MLB combine would also be a part of this showcase schedule. MLB has run similar summer events for prep players, only for players a year before they're eligible to be drafted. There's obviously a chance none of these things happen.

                            How would teams draft players if they don't play any games between now and draft day?

                            Clubs are confident in their evaluating ability, and scouting for the draft is a year-round endeavor. The southern half of the country was playing for about a month before everything stopped, and there are reams of data and high-speed video, along with a full summer and last spring's worth of data already collected. Teams could draft multiple rounds confidently with no additional games played or data and video collected, as they'd all have less information in a somewhat uniform way. Both scouting-driven processes and analytical-model-driven processes thrive on information, but there is a point where the marginal benefit is pretty small.

                            How does this tie into MLB's grander plan?

                            With the proposal by the league to eliminate as many as 40 minor league teams, the league would cut player-development costs by outsourcing talent to college. Effectively, low-tier pro prospects won't be signed out of high school and develop in the minor leagues as teenagers, using club resources the whole time. Rather, they will go to college to develop, the cream will rise, clubs will have more certainty about their draft investment in that college player and he'll get to the major leagues more quickly from the day he's drafted. The return on investment is undoubtedly higher and the development costs to MLB clubs lower. MLB and the NCAA hadn't collaborated much in the past until December's agreement to hold the draft in Omaha the day before the College World Series starts.

                            Moral hazards in college baseball exist. Winning in the short term for a college coach to get a contract extension or move to a bigger program means, broadly, that some things not in the long-term interest of some players and MLB clubs that might pick them -- more sliders thrown, more pitches per game, more bunts, different swing mechanics, fewer reps -- are a reality of the college game. But MLB teams now regularly dip into the college ranks to find coaches, so the incentive gap has narrowed.

                            It also could lessen opportunities for players from disadvantaged or multisport backgrounds who need high-level reps to improve. Gone would be later-round draft bonuses or developmental spots in top college programs. If these things were thought of as a marketing cost to increase the popularity of the game, akin to MLB's RBI Program, it might be more palatable to owners. The same goes for eliminating small-town minor league teams.

                            What about the minor leagues this season?

                            The agreement doesn't address the status of the minor league season since less than 10% of minor league players are part of the MLBPA. Around baseball, there is significant skepticism that it will look anything like it has in recent years.

                            Major league teams clearly need a grouping of Triple-A and Double-A players to be ready in case of injuries, but that's also baseball in 60 cities -- cities with their own questions about health and safety and the ability to operate with no fans. Two player-development directors this week talked about minor league baseball turning into a complex-only operation -- lots of back-field and intrasquad games among the lower-level minor leaguers and perhaps games at spring sites between organizations' Triple-A and Double-A teams.

                            Short-season ball is for all intents and purposes dead in 2020 because the influx of amateur talent into organizations this year will be minuscule. Now it's simply a matter of how the league chooses to handle those players already with teams.

                            What about the international signing period?

                            Manfred has the right to delay the 2020-21 signing period, which was set to begin on July 2, until as late as Jan. 15, 2021 through Dec. 15, 2021. There isn't a concrete bonus deferral for the international realm like the draft, but this big of a potential delay could act as a version of one. Should MLB delay the beginning of the new signing calendar, there would be a dead period from July 2, 2020 to the beginning of the 2020-21 class. The league also can push back the 2021-22 signing period to Jan. 15, 2022 through Dec. 15, 2022.

                            The bonus pools for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 signing periods will be the same as 2019-20. Teams will not be allowed to trade pool space -- they could previously trade for up to 50% on top of their original pool -- for both periods.

                            What will this mean for teams in the international realm?

                            Most of the 2019-20 money is spent and most of the 2020-21 money is already committed. Teams could try to renegotiate deals for the next signing period, though that would be seen as a deep breach of trust by the trainers who develop most of the talent in Latin American countries.

                            How about for players and trainers?

                            It is a potential disaster for two different economies. The first is for players. A not-insignificant percentage of elite players' families take out high-interest loans against their expected bonuses. This can happen for players as young as 13 years old, who can receive multimillion-dollar commitments from teams that want to sign them at 16. If loan payments come due and the families do not have the money to repay them, the compound interest could potentially wipe out a significant portion of the bonus money they do receive. Further, when Latin American teenagers sign with major league teams, they almost never spend their first season in the United States -- and, thus, are not subject to U.S. tax laws on the bonus. Top players from the 2020-21 class who sign in January 2021 could be asked to play in the states and would find their bonuses taxed accordingly.

                            The greatest expense for players is paying the buscónes, or trainers, who house them, feed them and train them from as young as 10 years old. Often a child will drop out of school and start at a local academy. If he shows promise, the trainer there will shop him to more well-known trainers, who give the local trainer a percentage of the player's eventual signing bonus. In total, players typically pay 30% to 50% of their bonuses to buscónes. Academies, though, can run on thin margins, particularly those with a significant number of players. One person intimately familiar with Dominican baseball estimated the potential six-month float could cause half the academies in the D.R. to shut down. Academies time their expenses to a July 2 signing period, and changing that could devastate them.

                            All of this fits with what now feels like an eventuality: an international draft come 2022. The timing, actually, lines up perfectly: If MLB pushes back the 2020-21 signing period, its end will coincide with the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement. The consequence would be a potential double class -- those from the 2021-22 group whose signings were pushed back and those who were set to be 16 by July 2, 2022 -- but that could be addressed with a higher bonus pool for that first year or a resetting of the signing age.

                            This is a lot to digest. How do we close this thing out?

                            By closing team workout facilities, which they've finally done. The hope now is that they'll reopen soon, that this agreement wasn't for naught and that baseball -- real, regular-season baseball, the kind that, regardless of crowd, is compelling nevertheless -- will be a reality sooner than later.
                            Put it in the books.


                            • Two unnamed Cubs gameday employees have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, according to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times. One of those employees is recovering at home; the other is receiving hospital treatment, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports Chicago. The two staff members tested positive on March 23 and 24, just more than two weeks after attending a staff training session at Wrigley Field on March 8.

                              The Mets have the best, smartest fans in baseball.


                              • Originally posted by milladrive View Post

                                Good. Truth be told, I'd not be against it. Under normal circumstances I probably wouldn't approve, but these aren't normal circumstances. Whatever works, so long as no one gets sick from it.

                                Count me for 80 games with fans before 162 games in empty stadiums.
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