MLB players and owners agree on something, and that’s generally good news.
Staring down an uncertain short-term future, MLB owners reportedly agreed to a contingency plan that had already been approved by the Players Association, putting into place the framework of what an eventual baseball season in 2020 might look like.
Still, as Twins manager Rocco Baldelli reminded us this week, we’re fooling ourselves if we think we know every detail of how this will play out on the world’s stage. But this agreement at least gives us a starting point. And it’s impossible to think that any Twins player will be unaffected by the agreement.
Here are a few of the highlights, per ESPN.
*Requirements that must be met before a season can begin, such as the removal of bans on mass gatherings and travel restrictions.
*If there’s no season, players can still earn service time. In that case, a player would earn credit for their 2019 service time, so a player like Jake Odorizzi, for example, would be eligible for free agency. More on the impact later on in this piece.
*Teams will advance a total of $170 million and spread it among the player pool by dividing them into four groups of relative experience and contract status. Consider it an advance. If there’s a season, it will count against their pro-rated salaries (paid early); and if there’s no season played in 2020, they won’t have to give back the money.
*The draft could be significantly shorted and bonus pools slashed.
*Expansion of the regular season (into October) and neutral-site postseason games is on the table, as Twins President Dave. St. Peter told us last week.
*To accommodate a scheduled that could get compacted to a tighter timeline, there’s the possibility of larger rosters and a shortened spring training, according to The Athletic.
If a season is to restart in June or July, we’ll have plenty of time to address the impacts on Minnesota and its roster. For now, let’s look at one possibility that none of us really want to consider right now.
What would happen if they had to wipe out the 2020 season?
As mentioned, these plans undoubtedly would impact every player on the Twins’ roster. Here are a couple examples based on the contingency plan for what happens if the season must be cancelled entirely.
Since service time still counts based on last year’s accrual, Nelson Cruz would be a free agent. So would Jake Odorizzi, Marwin Gonzalez, Trevor May, Homer Bailey, Alex Avila, Rich Hill, Ehire Adrianza and Tyler Clippard.
Sergio Romo would have a $5 million option for 2021.
It would also mean that Eddie Rosario and Michael Pineda would be entering their final season with the Twins. (It’s our understanding that Pineda still would need to serve the remaining 39 games of his drug suspension.)
Josh Donaldson would remain a Twin, of course. But in that scenario he would lose what you’d expect to be his best season in Minnesota.
Miguel Sano in that case would lose the first year of his new 3-year deal.
Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco would lose a year from their deals as well, but those two will be in Minnesota for a while longer still.
There are plenty of examples of how a missed season could impact players on the Twins’ roster. But hopefully – considering the health of the community and the optimism exuded by Twins fans – those contingency measures never have to take place.