We’ll round up a few notes from around baseball this weekend.
- Last month, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that José Bautista had been eyeing a return as a two-way player. While his hope of representing the Dominican Republic in the Olympic qualifying tournament was dashed by the event’s postponement, Bautista doesn’t appear to be giving up his two-way dream. He tells Sportsnet he would consider trying the dual role in the 2021 World Baseball Classic. Interestingly, he seems open to the idea of representing Team Spain (his father is a Spanish citizen, thus granting him eligibility), Sportsnet adds, if the Dominican team doesn’t offer him a roster spot. The former Blue Jays’ star admitted it’d be a long shot for him to ever pitch in the majors, but noted he’d be “ready just in case.”
- Derek Holland was on track to crack the Pirates’ season-opening rotation prior to the shutdown, reports Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He’d likely have slotted in behind Chris Archer, Joe Musgrove, Trevor Williams and Mitch Keller for first-year manager Derek Shelton. If the 2020 season is indeed played, Holland would presumably still figure to grab a roster spot, particularly since any playing scenario is likely to involve significant roster expansion. Holland’s minor-league deal originally called for a $1.25MM base salary if he were to make the club, reported ESPN. As MLBTR’s Jeff Todd explained this week, though, player salaries would be paid on a prorated basis in the event of a shortened season.
- Major League Baseball economics are sure to be rocked by the coronavirus hiatus, notes Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. It’s obviously too early to know exactly how teams, players and the league will respond to the loss of gate receipts. Nevertheless, Speier speaks with a handful of sports economists (and Scott Boras) about ways in which MLB could look to mitigate their losses in attendance revenue. As former SABR president Vince Gennaro points out, fan-free games might force teams to explore innovative media packages as alternatives to in-person attendance. Speier’s piece is well worth a full perusal for those interested in the sport’s economic future.