Major League Baseball announced the suspension of spring training and an at minimum two-week delay of the start of the regular season on Thursday. Saturday, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich reported that industry sources believe the season is unlikely to begin before May.
There are also plenty of logistical issues MLB and the Player’s Union have to sort out on top of monitoring the severity of the outbreak. Multiple insiders, including USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, reported that the league is still hoping to play a 162 game season, with postponed games added to the back end of the schedule. If a full season doesn’t come to fruition, more issues arise.
Per Rosenthal and Drellich, MLB would need to figure out what constitutes as one year of service time in a shortened season. A player has to spend 172 days on the big league roster to accumulate a full year. That number needs to go down if it appears a 162 game schedule is not feasible. This could strongly impact a team like the Phillies, who are expected to call up their top two prospects in Spencer Howard and Alec Bohm at some point during the 2020 season.
Other logistical issues include suspension lengths, contract incentive thresholds and salaries, per Rosenthal and Drellich. The commissioner has the right to suspend player contracts in the event of a “national emergency,” but Rob Manfred has not decided whether or not he will invoke the clause.
Players staying put in Clearwater, for now
It has been a hectic few days for Phillies executives, staff, coaches and players. According to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury, players were “encouraged” to leave spring training sites on Friday. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Breen, Matt Klentak told players in a meeting that they were to go home and return to the complex on Sunday. Saturday, Jake Arrieta told Salisbury that Phillies players are staying put in the Clearwater area to await more information, which is expected to come on Sunday.
Phillies release official statement
Extras: Rhys Hoskins reacts to the news, players spend a day off together
Via Breen, here’s Rhys Hoskins talking about the COVID-19 outbreak putting a halt to the MLB season:
On a more positive note, a few players got together and spent time with one another dockside in Clearwater. Bryce Harper posted a picture of the group on his Instagram page. You may recognize an old friend:
More from Phillies Nation
- Phillies Nation Podcast: Most Memorable 2012 Moments
- Phillies Nation’s Top 20 Philadelphia Phillies Prospects
- Bryce Harper Gives Honest Thoughts On Gabe Kapler
- How Much Room Do The Phillies Have Under The Luxury Tax Threshold?
- J.T. Realmuto Is Reportedly Targeting A Massive New Deal
- Joe Girardi Says Hector Neris Will Be Closer
- First Look: Power Blue Jerseys With Nike Swoosh
- How Good Could The 2006 Phillies Have Been With The DH?
- Bryce Harper On J.T. Realmuto: ‘We Need Him Here’
- The Phillies Are Sporting New Helmets In 2020