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Around the Horn- Return to Play

Updated: Dec 20, 2020

What is going on with my wonderful supporters of the blog? Today I want to recap the recent news that we got on June 23 that baseball FINALLY agreed.

Fun Fact: After 60 games last season, here are your playoff teams: Dodgers, Phillies, Cubs, Brewers, Braves for the NL on the AL side: Astros, Yankees, Twins, Rays, and Rangers. This year, with each week carrying more weight, the WS Champs of 2019, the Nationals, and all other teams have their work cut out for them from day one. Lets, get into it.

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Okay, I don't even know where to start with all the news. We saw so much going on the last three months when it came to negotiations between the MLB and MLBPA that we were supposed to have baseball by July 4. Now with the agreement, we are looking at camps starting July 1, followed by a limited spring training and then a 60 game regular season. With expanded playoff. Let's get into all the breakdowns of the 2020 season.

First is Spring Training 2.0- This is going to consist of 3 phases. The first phase is the individual and small group workouts. That means it's going to be pitchers and catchers reporting first to get that work in. Step two is going to extensive group workouts and full-team workouts. This will be interesting to see how they go about this. I have heard that these workouts will take part in shifts, almost like players will have a designated time to show up and leave, the facility will be cleaned in between sets. This is great to hear that player safety has been a focus of negotiations. Phase 3 will be a limited number of "Spring Training" games against other clubs. The reason for not going all in quicker is to work out all kinks of player health screens and ensure that players are all safe. All staff members/team personnel and employees will be going under in-depth health screenings to go along with this.

Schedule. I honestly love the program for the teams. Forty games will be exclusive to the division, so ten games against each division rival. Then 20 games against the teams NL/AL counterpart division. So for AL West v NL West. This would be four-game sets against these teams. This will create some fascinating storylines for baseball this year and bring excitement to organizations that don't play a lot. It will also make games like Yankees v. Redsox more important and Cubs v. White Sox more entertaining to watch as there will only be 4.

Now, what about players who are high risk or have a highrisk family member. Part of the agreement does ensure that players will be able to opt-out of the season. Much like the NBA is doing, and these players will still get paid the proper amount. A new change to the agreement as it was only players who were high risk. However, players who are not high-risk and decide to opt-out will not be paid or receive service time. There will also be a COVID-19 IL. To help players who get a positive test or are showing symptoms. There will be no time requirement for these players to come on and off this list.

Now, let's jump into Roster changes. This Friday at noon EST, the signing freeze will be lifted. This means all those released and released from theiR NRI contracts will be able to sign. I have already seen the rumor mill begin to spark. The Giants and Puig may be the first domino to fall. Teams will be submitting a 60man player pool by Sunday 3 pm EST. This is 60 platers each team may have in camp and then use during the regular season. It is an expanded 40man roster from who I understand it. This will be nice, and we are likely to see teams like the Tigers, Mariners, Orioles, for example, use this to get to know some players. There will be in-person scouting allowed for organizations when it comes to free-agents or in house talents. There will also be three taxi squad players for road trips. One must be a catcher, which means that they will stay at a location within proximity to the park and be ready to go for the game. I think teams will use this to their advantage to carry extra arms in the pen and use the taxi squad catcher spot.

The most exciting thing that I think is going to stick long term. Universal DH means that the NL teams will have a Designated Hitter spot for the first time in history. Which means pitchers will not hit, which is great for baseball. I am a big fan of the Universal DH, and I genuinely think this will stick long term. As we advance in the NL is going to e more exciting and more competitive and make pitchers a lot better. No more give me outs.

Let's try to shave some time, and the increasing pace of play said the MLB and MLBPA. Last year in the Minors in extra innings, a runner starts on 2nd, which gets us to the end of games quicker. THANK GOODNESS! This is a much-needed change. Which I think is going to last.

Finally, the last thing I have seen today is in Nashville; we may see an expansion sight for free agents at all MiLB farm talent as well. These teams would be hosted by the Nashville Sounds Baseball Club, and games would be played at First Horizon Park. I am a big fan of this and have been for a long time. The MLB needs something like this tor right MLB level talent: free agents; this is a chance for them to stay in shape and compete, stay sharp, and go straight into game action, which will be crucial this season.

Personally, let's all let the news sink in. Let's hope baseball trends in the right direction and do come back to us on July 23/24. Baseball took a big hit during this time. Cutting 42 MiLB teams, teams missing over 1000 MiLB players. The draft only being five rounds. Baseball needs to rebuild and let's hope the future is brighter than what it is.

Let's play ball!

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