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MLB plans to implement 2020 season: What’s next? (UPDATED)

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Here is what we are expecting the 2020 season to look like

Major League Baseball Expected to Suspend Spring Training Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Negotiations stalled between MLB and MLBPA on Monday and the league intends to move forward with the 2020 season with commissioner Rob Manfred implementing a schedule. Whether or not the players made the right call in rejecting the league’s latest proposal is open for debate. Still, it finally sets the stage for a return to the field and puts the focus back where it belongs and off of the messy negotiations.

Early reports suggest a potential regular season would include 60 games and the normal playoff format with two wild cards per league. Spring Training 2.0 could begin as soon as July 1 with Opening Day set for around July 24.

There are a couple of hurdles that remain but there is a little optimism that they can be cleared. The league released a statement on Monday and asked the union to inform them by 5 p.m. on Tuesday if players can report to spring training by July 1 and whether they will agree to the health and safety protocols in the operating manual that they established back in March.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that based on some of his conversations that the union will likely vote yes on both counts although they might ask for some slight tweaks to the safety protocols.

As is always the case when discussing negotiations between the league and the players, we shouldn’t assume that anything is obvious and likely to be agreed upon until it is so stay tuned.

Below is a rough outline of what the 2020 season will look like.

Spring Training 2.0 - Players reporting by July 1 to their home cities since the league recently shut down all spring training complexes in Florida and Arizona. Not entirely clear on what that will mean for the Marlins, Rays and Diamondbacks.

Opening Day - The season is expected to start around July 24.

Rule Changes - The final details on roster construction haven’t been released but we are expecting some sort of expanded roster with a taxi squad of players available when needed. Also unclear is the status of the DH in the National League. Both sides agreed to implement the DH in the NL back in March to further protect pitchers given the unusual season. That could still happen for this season but there are no guarantees that it will remain for 2021 now. There is also a report out there that the league will adopt the minor league rule for extra innings where each inning after the ninth starts with a runner at second base.

Playoffs - Normal playoff format with the two-wild card system.


Not mentioned of course is the biggest elephant in the room which is the ongoing pandemic. MLB is going to do its best to protect players but it is uncertain what will happen if the rise in numbers forces states to shut down again. For now, baseball and other sports are proceeding as if they are going to be able to complete their seasons but obviously this will be a fluid situation throughout.

UPDATE

Below is a list of proposed rule changes for the 2020 season according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.