After a grueling negotiation process between Major League Baseball owners and the player's union, the 2020 baseball season is finally set to begin at the end of July. Of course, the season will look a lot different than any in recent memory.
Teams will play a 60-game schedule and will have to do so in the middle of a global pandemic that's still raging, especially in the southern United States. Oh, and don't forget the significant pay cuts players are taking for the season to go on in the first place.
Due in part to the reasons we've laid out, a few players, such as Nationals Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross, decided not to play in 2020. The Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy has taken notice of players dropping out and wouldn't be surprised if we saw more of it.
"I think you will see more of that, and I understand that," Shaughnessy said. "A lot of it is the dough is so low for these guys. Some of them have already gotten all of their money and others will be playing for very low percentages given what they were staked in March.
"Plus it's a 60-game season, it's kind of a throw-away deal anyway," he said. "So yeah I think you'll definitely see more [players dropping out]."
There of course are positives to playing the 2020 season. Upcoming free agents can either maintain or increase their value heading into a contract year. If they struggle in a shortened season it'd be hard to knock them for it. Young and unproven players will be afforded more opportunities to play in the absence of those who opt-out.
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Also, players would be in a situation where the league is wide open and a strong start or finish can vault you into the playoffs. Then once the playoffs start, anything can happen.
"I talked to [Terry] Francona about it last week and he's more optimistic than I thought," Shaughnessy said. "He said, 'Hey, end of July we're all tied for first place, 60 games this could be fun... This stuff goes on the back of your baseball card, so it's gonna count, be mindful of that.'"
Some players will understandably decide the risks don't outweigh the rewards, and some may not. Either way, baseball is coming back in 2020 and we'll hopefully have 60 safely conducted games to enjoy for each team.
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