As the calendar has all but officially reached June, Major League Baseball and the Players Association are racing to finalize an agreement for a potential 2020 regular season.
With a soft deadline set for next week, the two sides reportedly remain at odds over both an economic plan and health and safety protocols for players.
The longer the stalemate continues, the less likely it is that Opening Day can take place in early July. The initial hope was that Spring Training 2.0 could get underway in mid-June and regular-season play would resume around Fourth of July weekend.
In talks with the union, MLB team owners have proposed that a second Spring Training last for three weeks, with the regular season concluding on Sept. 27, via ESPN’s Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers:
Players immediately bristled at the proposal, which includes an 82-game schedule that would begin in early July after a 21-day spring training, sources familiar with the plan said. Teams would play three exhibition games in the final week before starting a regular season that would finish Sept. 27.
A Spring Training 2.0 of multiple weeks is necessary for players to get back into game speed, but there are no specifics beyond the estimated length pitched by MLB.
However, the expectation is that most teams will be able to hold group workouts at their home ballparks, rather than report to facilities in Arizona or Florida.
Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Gavin Lux previously estimated that he would only need 15-20 at-bats to prepare for the regular season. Generally speaking, position players have collectively said only a minimal amount of time would be needed.
But there is a clear consensus that pitchers — specifically starters — will need more time to ramp back up. Ross Stripling said he will need three Spring Training outings to feel comfortable for the regular season.
Walker Buehler also opined that players will need up to one month to prepare for the start of the 2020 campaign. How soon they are able to report to camp depends on the league and union coming together on a plan everyone can get behind.
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