Major League Baseball announced Tuesday plans for a 2020 season. Players will report by next Wednesday, July 1st and opening day will be either July 23rd of 24th. Former Rockies General Manager and MLB Network Analyst, Dan O’Dowd says organizations are still working through critical details.
“I think it’s like the car is going 60 miles an hour and you are trying to jump on it while it is going 60 miles an hour." O'Dowd said regarding the 2020 MLB season.
The 2020 regular season is 100 games shorter than scheduled. Because of this, O’Dowd says organizations must have a model that’s built around adaptability. The priorities right now for GMs are building the 60-man taxi squad roster, establishing a second facility to socially distance players, and the biggest emphasis, is player's health.
"How do we prepare our players to compete in what I call a sprint season, without putting them in any significant long-term health issues." O'Dowd said. "It’s a gradual ramp up and in my concern, how do we prevent those injuries from happening but hit the ground running?"
Injuries in baseball, like any sport, are inevitable, but with the heightened risk of COVID-19, O’Dowd believes taxi rosters will be heavy with pitchers and outfielders because of the injury rates at these positions. MLB rosters have been frozen since late March, but on Friday, the transaction freeze is lifted. This is helpful for any teams looking to establish more depth and bounce back financially.
"The economic impact on team’s has been… I can’t even tell you how bad every organization has been affected by this." The former Rockies GM said. "Some have been devastated by this. So, if another club has some economic wiggle room, you may see even some larger names talked about just because of some organizations that are in economic survival mode."
In result of those economical impacts, hundreds of players were cut in June. Because of that, there’s been no word of a minor league season just yet.
"The unknown damage to this virus, other than what we see at the big league level, is the unfulfilled development opportunities for so many young players in every organization." O'Dowd explained. "The game of baseball can’t be replicated unless you actually play the game."
According to the health and safety protocols, players will be tested for COVID-19 every other day, even if they are asymptomatic.