Believe it or not, we’re less than a month away from real-life baseball games that matter. In the meantime, let’s catch up on all of the important news leading up to the season.
One or the Other
More than any other team, there is uncertainty about where the Toronto Blue Jays will be playing their 30 home games this season. Canada’s travel restrictions have forced MLB to submit a plan to the government for how they will keep everyone safe and healthy, with several teams needing to play the Blue Jays on the road.
In the meantime, team president Mark Shapiro has confirmed that if the Blue Jays can’t play in Toronto, they will relocate to their spring training facility in Dunedin, Fla. There were a few other options, including their triple-A affiliate in Buffalo, but the Blue Jays will head to Florida if MLB’s plan is rejected.
Either way, Shapiro says the Blue Jays won’t play in front of fans this year.
The First Game
MLB has decided on a 60-game schedule, and while they continue to put that schedule together, there are reports that the Washington Nationals will host the New York Yankees to open the season. The game would bring together last year’s World Series champion with one of the betting favorites for the 2020 season.
It would also create a pitching matchup that would likely be new Yankee ace Gerrit Cole facing either Max Scherzer or World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg.
Speaking of the Nationals, there is a chance they won’t have veteran Ryan Zimmerman this season. Zimmerman’s wife gave birth to a baby three weeks ago, while his mom has an underlying condition.
Those two factors could entice Zimmerman to sit out the season out of an abundance of caution. Zimmerman reportedly considered retirement after last season but ultimately signed a one-year, $2 million deal to return to the Nationals.
It’s widely believed that he doesn’t want to play for any other team, so if he sits out the 2020 season, it’s possible that he has already played his last game.
The future for Dodgers outfielder Andrew Toles is looking murky after he was arrested in Key West, Fla., this week on trespassing charges. Toles was reportedly found sleeping behind a Federal Express building at the Key West airport.
Law enforcement officials believed Toles was homeless when they brought him in, although he has since been released on a $500 bond. Toles broke out with the Dodgers in 2016 and 2017, only to be derailed by a knee injury.
He did not report to spring training before the pandemic because of personal issues. The Dodgers declined to comment on the situation. Toles has his arraignment scheduled for Thursday.
There’s a Chance
An expanded playoff was a popular scenario thrown about while the owners and the players were negotiating terms for the 2020 season. Ultimately, Rob Manfred restarting the season on his own means a normal 10-team playoff this season.
However, reports indicate that the Players Association is open to discussing an expanded playoff. In theory, a 14-team playoff would generate more revenue for the league to help offset the loss of games and the lack of fans in attendance, so if the players are still open to it, the owners would surely be interested.
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