What will Major League Baseball's season look like? - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

What will Major League Baseball’s season look like?

Photo Credit; Joy R. Absalon

As the seemingly endless dispute between commissioner Rob Manfred and the Players Association drones on, there was an interesting series of tweets from Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer, who’s often good for a contrary opinion.

Here are two of them:

“Fans want baseball. The vast majority of players want baseball. Most owners want baseball. Seems like everyone is in agreement yet we have no agreement and no baseball. How?!”

“It’s absolute death for this industry to keep acting as it has been. Both sides. We’re driving the bus straight off a cliff. How is this good for anyone involved? Covid 19 already presented a lose lose lose situation and we’ve somehow found a way to make it worse. Incredible.

As expected, the players had voted against the proposal by Manfred. Now, the commissioner can decide on a schedule.

MLB released a statement on Monday night asking that the players tell them by 5 p.m. Tuesday if they’ll be ready to report to training camp by July 1. The players also must agree to the health and safety protocols.

Let’s look at some questions and possible answers on what could happen next.

What would the schedule look like? If it’s 60 games, which is what MLB has been proposing, then let’s guess that the Orioles would play each of their four American League East opponents 10 times, and the five National League East teams four times, with two-game home-and-home series.

Because there are five teams in each division, there will be an interleague game each day.

ADVERTISEMENT

When would the season finally begin? MLB has said it wants the regular season to end on September 27, when the original 162-game schedule was to end.

If training camps open on July 1, there’s time to play 60 games, and play could begin the last weekend of July. That’s around when NFL training camps are scheduled to reopen, and the NBA is supposed to return.

All these dates are assuming the nation’s health permits it.

Where will teams train? The Orioles and most other teams will train at their home ballparks. Because of health reasons, Miami, Tampa Bay and Toronto might have to find other venues.

The Orioles are fortunate to have three affiliates — Aberdeen, Bowie and Frederick within an hour of Baltimore. Those parks could be used for the taxi squads as well as some minor leaguers.

If the Orioles decide that Camden Yards isn’t big enough for perhaps as many as 50 players, some could train elsewhere.

What will the rosters look like? There have been several scenarios thrown around, with 29- or 30-player rosters, a 29-player roster for the first month and a taxi squad of perhaps 20 players.

Still to be decided are roster machinations. Will there be adjustments to the 40-man roster since a number of players on the taxi squad aren’t on it?

How freely can players move between the taxi squad and the active roster? This year, pitchers could only be recalled after they spend 15 days in the minor leagues. Position players could be recalled after 10 days.

Rosters have been frozen since shortly after the pandemic forced a pause in play on March 12.

It will be fascinating to see if any players opt out for health reasons.

Are there any new rules? The designated hitter will be used in all games. Had the players agreed to MLB’s proposal, the DH would have been used universally in 2021 and likely forever.

Now, it’s to be discussed as part of the next Collective Bargaining Agreement.

What will the playoffs look like? The owners had proposed 16-team playoffs for this year and expanded playoffs for next year, too.

Since the owners’ proposal was rejected, the postseason field remains at 10 teams, as it has since 2012.

The expanded playoffs are a way to address one of the players’ concerns, tanking. If there are eight teams in each league in the postseason field, more teams will feel they have a chance to play in October, making for a more aggressive free-agent market.

Will we continue to see sparring between players and owners? Most assuredly. The CBA expires after the 2021 season, and this negotiation hasn’t helped the climate.

If there had been an uneventful negotiation, the 2020 season could have started next week. Instead, three weeks of play will be lost along with the opportunity to dominate a sports calendar that’s nearly empty.

By the time baseball returns, fans’ attention might be on the NFL and NBA.

The last time there was a labor dispute came in 1994 and 1995 before many of today’s players were born. Only one owner, the Chicago White Sox’s Jerry Reinsdorf, was active then.

As Bauer indicated in his tweet, the silly tussle during the pandemic has made the sport look small, and it will be interesting to see how many fans will watch games featuring empty stands and little atmosphere on television.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Orial

    June 23, 2020 at 8:23 am

    Bauer’s comments resonate more as a fan than that of a part of the problem(player). I find it ironic that in an attempt to salvage a season MLB looks worse than if it had just gone ahead and canceled it from the get go. The more they “try” the worse it looks. Unfortunately a prelude of what’s to come(2021). Can we say too powerful a union?

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 23, 2020 at 8:38 am

      Orial, the union is powerful because historically, the owners fought for the reserve clause in court instead of compromising.

      Let’s take the NFL players union. They barely approved their new labor agreement and still don’t have guaranteed contracts.

      Instead, you’ll see that a player signed for five years and $60 million with only a portion guaranteed.

      In baseball, players, owners and fans can easily analyze contracts while on football it’s obtuse.

      Neither side has helped itself in this fight. Don’t blame one side.

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        June 23, 2020 at 6:57 pm

        Rich, the union is powerful because of guaranteed contracts and the arbitration process for players. This is the root of the problem. 200 % boost in salary even when players had poor years! The reserve clause was abolished in 1975 and free agency took over. Teams couldn’t talk to one another over free agents but players could. I remember 1b Rafael Palmeiro getting miffed at Will Clark for signing with the Orioles and undercutting/undermining his ploy for holding out for more money once his 1st contract ran out. He said it was an agreement within the players not to do this. If the Owners did this, this would have been collusion and the union would sue and win.

        There are a lot more middle to small market clubs in baseball than large market clubs that cannot afford a walkout or strike from the players due to their guaranteed contracts. Even when owners locked out players they always had to cave in because they cannot afford to pay these players when there is no gate receipts or parking money coming in. And majority rules on their vote. So players always won!

        The NFL takes care of their own by having a salary cap and revenue sharing for all tv money. That’s why there’s a team in a small market called the Tennessee Titans or in Buffalo called the Bills because all teams share no matter how big or small your market is. Until baseball fixes this issue, there will be the rich teams against the not so much. And that’s why you will almost always see the Yanks, Dodgers, Red Sox in the playoffs every year after year after year after year after….

        • Rich Dubroff

          June 23, 2020 at 8:28 pm

          But, No. 1, over the last 30 years, every team has played in the World Series except for the Seattle Mariners. Over that time, a lower percentage of NFL teams-26 of 32 have played in the Super Bowl. Jets, Vikings, Browns, Lions, Texans and Jaguars have not appeared.

  2. DevoTion

    June 23, 2020 at 10:05 am

    A 60 game schedule could be exciting, a 10-15 game hot streak from a team that would in a normal season not have a chance, or a bad streak from a contender could completely change the playoff picture. It will be interesting to see.
    But, I have a feeling that covid is going to take over and the season won’t be completed. I hope I’m wrong

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 23, 2020 at 10:13 am

      You are not alone with the fear of the virus, Devo.

  3. Boog Robinson Robinson

    June 23, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    Let them eat cake.

  4. Bancells Moustache

    June 23, 2020 at 3:01 pm

    Has anyone reached out to Vince McMahon and the XFL to see how much they know about baseball?

    • willmiranda

      June 23, 2020 at 3:31 pm

      I don’t know about baseball, but they sure know a lot more about entertainment than anyone in baseball.
      Is it just me, or does anyone else think that baseball people are the most complacent in organized sports?

      • Bancells Moustache

        June 23, 2020 at 4:17 pm

        Baseball people are clueless. They still think kids are playing stickball and dreaming about being centerfielder for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Baseball continues packaging itself as a trip to Grandpas house. Think about it, MLB has an embarassment of riches when it comes to young, marketable superstar talent which dwarfs that of the NBA, but they can’t figure out how to market them. My God, Mike Trout is the best player on Earth, is good looking, well spoken, interacts great with fans and plays in LOS ANGELES and they can’t figure out how to sell him.

  5. Birdman

    June 23, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    Even if the players and owners can settle the financial issues, they still would have to get through the “season” without the virus shutting things down, which I think seems unlikely.

  6. BirdsCaps

    June 23, 2020 at 7:49 pm

    I’m not usually a betting man, but with +25000 odds for the birds winning the al east and with a 60 game season it might be worth Putting a buck or two down. I hope super expanded playoffs and adding the dh to the nl (I love the strategy) aren’t bargained into the next cba,even though I’m sure they will be.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login or Register Here

Leave a Reply

To Top