Some items from around the sport…
- The league’s decision to limit this year’s amateur draft to five rounds is explored by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (subscription required), who notes that the players’ union turned down a proposal from MLB to have a ten-round draft, with the signing bonuses attached to the picks in rounds 6-10 reduced to half of their usual value. The gap between the cost of full bonuses and half-bonuses was relatively minor, only around $500K per team, yet the MLBPA “did not want to set the precedent of altering the March deal, knowing the league will likely seek a similar opening next week and ask for additional sacrifices.” This is in reference to the public discord that has already taken place between MLB and the union about the possibility of reduced player salaries should the season begin without any fans in attendance.
- Speaking of salaries, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney points out that some players managed to avoid the financial crunch that most of the players around baseball will face under the terms of the March agreement between the league and the MLBPA. Those with deferred contracts will take less of a financial hit in 2020 since they’ll be getting their money down the road, while other players (i.e. Dellin Betances) who had up-front signing bonuses in their contracts have already received those full payments. Zack Cozart will receive the full $12.167MM salary owed to him in 2020 since the Giants released him in January, whereas Cozart would have had his salary greatly reduced had he still been on San Francisco’s roster at the time of the shutdown.
- While nothing has been decided about the location of any possible 2020 games for any team, restrictions on the Canada/U.S. border adds another layer of difficulty to the possibility of Blue Jays games in Toronto, Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi writes. International visitors to Canada are currently subject to a mandatory 14 days of either self-isolation or quarantine upon arriving in the country, depending on whether or not they show any coronavirus symptoms. While the Jays have had some discussions with civic and provincial officials about the feasibility of playing games at Rogers Centre, Davidi notes that the club could end up playing regular season games at its Spring Training facility in Dunedin unless the situation changes (such as “expected advancements and the wide-scale deployments of rapid-result diagnostic testing”).