The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) led to virtually every professional sports league temporarily suspending operations. For Major League Baseball, that meant the cancellation of all remaining Spring Training games and postponement of Opening Day.
While there is motivation to resume play at some point, one of the biggest issues that needed to be addressed revolved around service time. MLB and the MLB Players Association eventually agreed that players will continue accumulating service time regardless of how many games are played this season.
As a result, Mookie Betts is still on track to become a free agent this winter — even if he never suits up in a game for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
During a recent appearance on “The Sedano Show” of ESPN L.A., Dodgers manager Dave Roberts explained he isn’t worried about that prospect coming to fruition and is confident Betts enjoys being part of the organization:
“If that situation is presented, it’s presented. Both sides have agreed that the players don’t lose service time, so for Mookie, personally that’s great for him. For the Dodgers, the fans obviously, to lose baseball for ’20 would be disappointing and then now you’d have to go into the winter to see what decision Mookie decides.
“But I think him being in Spring Training with us, the relationship I have with him personally and I think some players, too, and coaches, it feels like he’s already played a season with us, which is very strange. Again, Mookie’s got to do what’s best for him and his family once that time does present itself, but I know that he loves being a Dodger. He hasn’t played a Major League game yet but as far as putting that uniform on in Spring Training, understanding what the fans, the organization, is about. The west coast living, he hasn’t felt that yet.
“Let’s just hope we still have baseball in ’20 and we’ll see where that goes.”
While Betts departing the Dodgers without playing in a game for them is obviously a nightmare scenario, all signs point to there being a season this year.
MLB reportedly continues to evaluate multiple scenarios with which to begin the 2020 regular season; none of which figure to include fans in attendance.
As for Betts, he admitted to having a peculiar feeling in a new uniform, but credited his mother and new Dodgers teammates for a seamless transition.
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