After matters initially remained at a standstill in the wake of Major League Baseball cancelling remaining Spring Training games and delaying Opening Day, recent weeks have brought about a slew of reports on how the 2020 regular season could be held amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The first potential plan to surface called for all 30 teams to play under quarantine in Arizona. Under that scenario MLB would use upwards of 10 Spring Training facilities in addition to Chase Field. However, it garnered significant push back from Clayton Kershaw and Mike Trout.
That led to reports of MLB exploring division realignment with the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues, and another plan to use Arizona, Florida and Texas — and potentially more states — as hubs.
More recently it was suggested MLB prefers to have as many teams as possible playing at their home ballparks.
With several scenarios having been discussed, a formal proposal that outlines when Spring Training and the regular season would begin is expected to be submitted to the MLB Players Association in the near future, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan:
Major League Baseball expects to offer a return-to-play proposal to the MLB Players Association within a week, as teams have begun to encourage players to prepare for a “spring” training that could begin in mid-June and a season that could start in early July, sources familiar with the discussions told ESPN.
For all the possible scenarios MLB has reportedly explored, the league cannot move forward with a plan until receiving approval from the MLBPA. Justin Turner recently outlined some of the complexities with that process, noting a new collective bargaining agreement would essentially be required for 2020.
Turner is among the Los Angeles Dodgers players who expressed a willingness to play under a quarantine situation. Though, he recognized that sentiment would not apply to every player.
While MLB has evaluated several options, access to rapid testing and the overall status of cities will largely dictate matters.
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