After weeks of back and forth, and little progress made in negotiations, the MLB has announced the 2020 season will be coming and it will be 60 games long.
The MLB Players Association (MLBPA) has told the league that players will comply with the imposed outline of MLB commissioner, Rob Manfred, which outlines a regular season of 60 games. Players will take part in a form of “spring” training that starts on July 1st, with the season starting either July 23rd or 24th.
The league has also solidified its coronavirus health and safety precautions and protocols.
In his statement about the league’s return, Manfred said:
“Major League Baseball is thrilled to announce that the 2020 season is on the horizon. We have provided the Players Association with a schedule to play 60 games and are excited to provide our great fans with baseball again soon.”
The league has been at odds with the players over several different factors, including length of the season, pay, safety, and more. Both sides proposed different outlines for the season, with none of them being able to be agreed upon.
This stalemate ended when MLB owners unanimously voted to have Manfred mandate a season. He had this right to impose the schedule because of a deal the two sides had made in March. Manfred then requested players respond by 5 P.M. EST so the league could continue with scheduling.
So what will the season look like? Well, there is still a fair amount of unknowns but we do know the following:
Regional Schedule Formatting
While the exact schedule is yet to be made, the structure is known. Each team will play 40 games against divisional opponents (10 for each one), and play 20 interleague games against the geographical equivalent.
MLB Teams Submitting 60-Player Rosters, Open with 30-Player Rosters
Teams will have to submit a roster of 60 players by Sunday at 3 P.M. EST for big-league training camp. Once the season begin, teams will be allowed to carry 3o players on their active roster, with that number dropping to 28 after two weeks, and then 26 after four weeks.
MLB Universal DH and Baserunners
The MLB will start with some rule chagnes: every team will have a designated hitter, meaning pitchers will no longer hit in the NL. There will also be a baserunner on second at the start of every half-inning in extras.
Transaction Freeze Ending
Teams will be able to make transactions again this Friday at noon. With this being the case and the 60-player rosters needed on Sunday, we could see trades happening this week.
August Trade Deadline
The MLB will still have a trade deadline this season, though it has been moved from July 31st to August 31st.
COVID-Specific Inactive List
Each team will have a specific inactive list to place players who test positive for COVID-19 or show symptoms. There will be no set amount of time that a player has to be on this list, unlike the injured list which has hitters sit out at least 10 days.
Unsigned MLB Players to Nashville
The weirdest change coming to the season is that the MLB has reached out to the cite of Nashville as a place to host unsigned players who would be paid to remain in shape as potential replacement players. Teams would have to pay to bring these players on to their roster. It isn’t set in stone yet, but it is something being talked about.
A with the case with every league and sport that is returning after their delay, the MLB season is going to look quite a bit different. There is still plenty that can change in the coming weeks but it looks like baseball is coming back!
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