10:07pm: Any player or manager who comes within 6 feet of an umpire to argue a call could receive a suspension, per Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.
8:27pm: The league issued a statement (via Mark Feinsand of MLB.com) saying it expects to start the regular season on July 23 or 24. Players will be able to opt out of the season, but only those who are at high risk of contracting the coronavirus (or living with a high-risk person or pregnant spouse) will be able to do so while earning full and service time, according to Nightengale, who reports the league will have the right to relocate teams to neutral sites during the regular season and playoffs for health and safety reasons. Also, Nightengale notes that the regular IL will be 10 days for all players. As was reported earlier, there will also be a COVID-19 IL with no specific length.
8:02pm: Teams will play 40 games against divisional opponents and 20 interleague contests versus geographic counterparts (East v. East, for example), Heyman reports. As expected, there will be a DH in the NL, Nightengale relays. Camp will begin July 3, but players will have to show up for spring training no later than July 1, Nightengale adds.
7:33pm: The league and union have reached a deal on health and safety, Karl Ravech of ESPN reports. Players will head to camp before July 1 in order to undergo coronavirus testing, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today. The next round of spring training will take place in teams’ home cities.
5:32pm: Even though they have made progress, the two sides aren’t guaranteed to reach a deal on health and safety tonight, Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweets. But if they do come to an agreement, the league would “likely” lift its freeze on transactions five days before the players report, per Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com.
4:45pm: Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are continuing to discuss health and safety protocols for a potential 2020 season, but it doesn’t appear the players will stand in the way of an agreement. The union has informed the league that the players intend to report to spring training 2.0 by July 1, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. A 60-game regular season would begin anywhere from July 24-26.
After months of squabbling between the league and the players, this is finally a welcome bit of good news for those hoping to see a baseball season this year. Because it was unable to reach an agreement on a season with the union, the league decided Monday to announce a 60-game season – which the game’s 30 owners unanimously approved. Meanwhile, the MLBPA stated: “While we had hoped to reach a revised back to work agreement with the league, the Players remain fully committed to proceeding under our current agreement and getting back on the field for the fans, for the game, and for each other.”
The hope is that will happen, though it’s unclear how a season could look. For instance, we don’t know whether some or all teams will play in their home ballparks (that appears especially unlikely for the Blue Jays) because of the coronavirus, which has victimized a slew of people around the sport over just the past few days. And if a season does occur, it looks as if there will be at least a few notable changes to the way things are typically done. The bottom line, though, is that signs continue to point to the start of the 2020 campaign in just a few weeks.