While fans sat on their couch and enjoyed past baseball events Thursday, business deals went down between MLB and MLB-PA. A few things stood out in the agreement that took place. First, MLB can shorten the 2020 and 2021 draft and delay the international 2021-2022 signing period to the 2022 year. Second, at this time, teams can’t make roster moves. Third, players suspended due to the violation of the joint-drug agreement serve the suspension in 2020 regardless if there’s a season or not. Fourth, players get a full year of service time irrespective if a season plays out or not. Finally, the league and players consider playing in an empty stadium and neutral sites depending if the National Institute of Health and the CDC green light this idea. The last two points become interesting, here’s a further breakdown of those points.
Just went on SportsCenter to talk about the MLB-MLBPA deal — and how the agreement leaves leeway to play games even before public-health officials allow mass gatherings. The key will be if ownership and the league want to proceed with no fans in the stands. pic.twitter.com/NEZ9maQkVu
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 27, 2020
Players get a full year of service time, regardless of a season.
For the Rangers, this could affect a couple of players, unless the club offers an extension. Shin-Soo Choo enters the final season of his seventh year of a contract he signed before the 2014 season. In 2020, the club still owes Choo 21 million dollars. At this time, there haven’t been any open discussions. However, if the season is on the verge of cancellation, I’d expect both sides to be open to a short-term extension though it may be a bit difficult as Choo’s agent is Scott Boras. Mike Minor is another Ranger currently entering the final year of his contract. Extension talks surfaced last season but never finalized. There was talk about trading Minor, which could be another possibility.
The season could start, with no fans.
I’ve heard a mixed reaction from baseball fans about this. On the one hand, everyone wants their sports back, regardless of cost. Other nations (notably the Korean and Japanese leagues) are resuming play, but fans want the significant league ballpark experience. It’s undecided when the government will lift the social gathering restrictions, but I will assume that once they are either lifted or eased upon, MLB will jump into gear on an action plan. The season structure becomes interesting. Baseball wants to start as early as possible, but an indication feels like the beginning of June. Now, remember, there would probably be a two week exhibition period to loosen players up with a likely expanded roster. This may mean that the Rangers first game at Globe Life Field will feature empty stands, hopefully not.
A sign of the times. During a scrimmage game in The Korean Baseball Organization, players for the Lotte Giants wore masks for protection. 📷:@MyKBO #koreanbaseball #baseball #Covid_19 #Deportes pic.twitter.com/aQ0vN97dpm
— La Vida Baseball (@LaVidaBaseball) March 28, 2020
Other details will come into place and questions will eventually be answered. For example, how many games will the 2020 season consist of, and how long into the calendar year will the season go? There’s talk of no All-Star game, which hurts the Los Angeles Dodgers organization vitally (the host for the 2020 All-Star game). MLB is exploring the options of expanding the playoff teams to fourteen total (seven in each league), instituted a couple of months ago, and possibly playing postseason games at neutral sites (like Dodger Stadium). For now, it’s all a waiting process, and I know Rangers nation is waiting for one thing: to hear those famous Chuck Morgan words, “It is baseball time in Texas.”
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