Good morning, Athletics Nation!
The baseball news cycle is really heating up this week, as the sport takes steps toward potentially starting a 2020 MLB season amid the coronavirus pandemic. Monday brought word that the team owners approved a proposal for how a season might look, and they will discuss that plan in negotiations with the players on Tuesday.
The exact details of the offer are not yet known, but plenty of rumors are flying around, especially from Bob Nightengale of USA Today. One is that the season would be around 82 games, which is half of a normal MLB campaign. The schedule would begin in the first few days of July, as has previously been rumored, with some extra spring training beforehand in June. The postseason would go from 10 to 14 teams, and would start in October as usual. Rosters would go from 26 up to 30, plus a 20-man taxi squad to help make up for the likely loss of the entire minor league season. But all of those ideas have already been discussed for weeks now, though previous versions hoped for 100+ games.
The biggest change is the alignment setup. Nightengale reports that the AL and NL would remain in their normal structure, but that teams will only play against their own geographical divisions — for example, the A’s only play against AL West and NL West clubs. That all-West setup has been mentioned before, but not alongside the concept of the traditional leagues staying intact.
With all that interleague play going on, the two sides will also consider making the DH universal for all games. That would certainly make sense in a world where 50% of games are played between teams from opposite leagues, and also in a world where pitcher health is an especially hot-button topic after they’ll be forced to rush through an abbreviated spring training. Even if you hate the DH, it really makes a lot of sense for 2020.
Will the MLBPA agree to this deal, or will they balk at the idea of having their salaries reduced and/or tied to league revenues? Stay tuned all week to find out!
- Slusser: A’s Jake Diekman among at-risk players MLB must consider before restart ($)
- Slusser podcast: Guest is Jake Diekman
- Seamheads podcast: Guest is Bobby Crosby (Apple) | Spotify | Stitcher
- Braden: What Dallas Braden misses most about sports during coronavirus hiatus
- Hickey: Athletics, Giants Would See Plenty of Each Other if Players Sign Off on Reopening Plan
- Hickey: What Would Doo Do When It Comes to Owners’ Reopening Plan? It’s a Tough One
- Hickey: Slashing MLB Draft to Five Rounds May Save Cash, but at What Cost?
- Hickey: Michael Jordan and the Athletics: Wouldn’t That Have Been Fun?
- Coffey and Berman: A’s banked big on 2020, so baseball’s hiatus is costing time and opportunity ($$$)
- Jenkins: NorCal’s all-time baseball greats vs. SoCal’s: Who wins? Help us find out
- Gallegos: A’s Top 5 right fielders: Gallegos’ take
- Hall: Oakland A’s and a 5-round MLB draft
- Hall: Did Catfish Hunter have the most perfect game ever?
- Sherman: MLB will send formal return proposal to union on Tuesday
- Rosenthal and Drellich: MLB revenue-sharing plan is a non-starter for the Players Association ($$$)
- Rosenthal: What players with underlying health concerns say about a possible return ($$$)
- ESPN: An 82-game season? A universal DH? Key takeaways from MLB’s 2020 proposal
- Sherman: MLB 2020 season threatened by utter compensation nonsense
- Davidoff and Sherman: 2021 World Baseball Classic likely postponed until 2023
- Apstein: Scott Boras Urges MLB Players to Reject Owners’ Latest 2020 Season Proposal
- Clair: He’s 19 years old ... and he has a 105-mph fastball
- Clair: Remember Frank Thomas? No, not that one ...
- Leitch: For Matt Williams, the HR chase that never was
- Simon: A future star who got away, 1 from every team
- Byrne: A Seattle Signing That Didn’t Work Out In 2019
- Byrne: Remembering The No. 1 Picks Of The 1990s
- Kelly: This record is now 116 years old
- MLB Trivia: Think you know the MLB Draft?
- Today in Baseball History
Best of Twitter:
Key words: “as early as spring training in a month”
MLB owners on a conference call today approved a measure that will be officially send to the union tomorrow to begin negotiations to try to get the season restarted as early as spring traininig in a month. LOTS OF HURDLES ahead— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) May 11, 2020
Among the aforementioned hurdles ...
Current MLB proposal would still try to have postseason in Oct at home fields if possible. Concerned about 2d wave of Covid-19 coming in cooler weather/disrputing playoffs. Plus concerned TV landscape for sports could be jammed with other leagues/sports re-sked in Nov.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) May 11, 2020
The start of a 16-tweet thread
Bear with me, but it feels like we've zoomed past the most important aspect of any MLB restart plan: health protections for players, families, staff, stadium workers and the workforce it would require to resume a season. Here are some things I'll be looking for in the proposal...— Obi-Sean Kenobi Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) May 11, 2020
At least Manfred can agree on things with one person in the world
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he had talked with Rob Manfred and said MLB had promised not to hold any games in violation of state guidelines. Newsom said he'd like to see games, even fan-free, but no guarantees. "We'll see where we will be in July," Newsom said.— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) May 11, 2020
Dave Stewart talking some basketball, because why not
Mike Blowers becomes Blowstradamus