Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association reached a deal that addresses many issues with regard to the business side of the sport.
While there was speculation the 2020 MLB Draft could be canceled to save funds, the event will go on as scheduled this year. However, commissioner Rob Manfred has the option of shortening the draft from 40 rounds to five. Bonuses will also be deferred, and non-drafted players can receive no more than $20,000.
Another hurdle that was cleared pertains to service time. Players were adamant that they continue accumulating time this season, regardless of how many games are ultimately played.
The two sides were able to work out an agreement, as players will be granted a full year of service time, even in the worst-case scenario that the season gets cancelled.
For the Los Angeles Dodgers, this means the likes of Mookie Betts, Joc Pederson, Pedro Baez, Kiké Hernandez and Blake Treinen will all reach free agency at the conclusion of the 2020 season.
The most notable name in that group is Betts, who was acquired less than two months ago in a blockbuster trade with the Boston Red Sox.
The Dodgers paid a steep price to acquire Betts, taking on approximately half of David Price’s contract while parting with Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs and Connor Wong.
The Dodgers front office made it clear that their top priority of the offseason was to add another elite player to the roster. Betts, one of the very best players in all of baseball, fits that category, and was expected to slot in at the top of the lineup this season.
Betts’ arrival gave the Dodgers a third former MVP winner and the best odds of any team to win the World Series this season.
But now with the agreement between MLB and the MLBPA, there technically is a possibility he never suits up for the organization and signs with a different team this offseason.
Betts has been looking forward to testing free agency for quite some time, having reportedly turned down multiple contract extensions with the Red Sox. The 27-year-old will still be eligible for a qualifying offer, meaning the Dodgers can recoup some value in the form of draft compensation should he sign with another club.
While that is obviously a nightmare scenario, the hope is that a good chunk of the regular season can be salvaged. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has already ruled out a 162-game season in 2020, but there is some optimism that play can resume in June — with or without fans in attendance.
The possibility of a significant amount of doubleheaders being scheduled is also on the table to make up as many games as possible. MLB is additionally considering extending the regular season into October, with the postseason and World Series taking place in November at neutral sites in warm weather cities.
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