MLB News and Notes: Working Towards A Season

In an alternate universe, one without the coronavirus, we would be enjoying our first full week of the new baseball season. Instead, we currently are left longing for baseball (and all major sports for that matter) with no clear idea of when it could return.

While it is pretty much a foregone conclusion that we will have an abbreviated season this year, there have been questions about how that season could look. With that in mind, the MLB Player’s Association and MLB hammered out some guidelines in this unprecedented time.

Let’s take a look at some of those guidelines and other news from around the league.

Deal For The Upcoming Season Emerges

While the world stands still, MLB and the Player’s Association have hammered out a deal for what how the two sides will move forward when examining the 2020 season. Concessions were certainly may on both sides and while there is still uncertainty as to whether a season will even be played, here are some of the compromises that were made from both sides:

First, there was an agreement made on how a season could even continue. There are three criteria that have to be met for play to resume: no governmental orders preventing mass gatherings, no travel restrictions in either the U.S. or Canada, and assurances that players and staffs will not become ill.

There are some caveats that can circumvent these like playing at neutral sites or in front of no fans, but this is the basic outline to determine when play could start up again.

Given that a shortened spring training would be needed and even then pitchers wouldn’t be stretched out enough, there are some basic agreements to expand the rosters a bit, mostly allowing teams to carry more pitchers to save from overusing pitchers who haven’t ramped up to full workloads.

Playoffs could expand into November (and beyond if you ask Scott Boras, who wants to play a World Series game on Christmas) by using neutral sites that are either located in warm areas or have roofs.

Furthermore, there have been discussions about expanding the playoffs to upwards of 14 teams. Ultimately, it is already a shortened, weird season, so why not try some new things?

The big thing for players is service time. In fact, this is huge. In the unfortunate scenario where MLB has to cancel the 2020 season, all players who played a full season last year would receive a full season worth of credit.

Yep, sorry, Dodgers, that means that if no baseball is played, you could lose Mookie Betts without him ever playing a regular-season game as he would become a free agent. That also applies to players like JT Realmuto, George Springer and Marcus Stroman, among others.

In terms of the draft, it will still go on, but likely not on time. The agreement allows the draft to be pushed back and possibly significantly reduced. It could go from 40 rounds down to five rounds, although commissioner Rob Manfred has some leeway in this decision.

Syndergaard Gets Tommy John

If baseball is played this year, the Mets have just taken a big hit to their starting rotation. The Mets announced this week that starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard has undergone Tommy John Surgery and will be out the next 12 to 14 months.

Syndergaard felt elbow discomfort prior to spring training being cut short, and after problems continued, the elbow was given an MRI, and the opinion was to have the surgery.

Last season, with the Mets, Syndergaard pitched in 32 games going 10-8 with a 4.28 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. In 197 2/3 innings pitched, he struck out 202 batters while walking 50.

Syndergaard has always been seen as a potential ace to the staff but has battled injuries throughout his career. Still, at just 27 years old, the Mets are hopeful that he will be able to return next season.

For the upcoming season, though, they are likely thrilled that they added Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha to the mix while also retain Steven Matz. Along with Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman, the Mets hope that it is enough to contend in the NL East.

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