All signs are starting to point to some version of the 2020 MLB season being conducted.
Signs are also pointing to who (30 teams) and why (money). The where, when and how, though, remain unknown.
The final plan might leave many teams and fans asking, “What?”
But the goal is to play baseball in 2020, Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said, and to conduct a draft and to find some way to help continue the development of minor-league players in a season disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
It might be the Three State Plan, in which Arlington and Globe Life Field would be major players, or the Arizona Plan or some funky schedule that threatens to skew the integrity of a complete season.
The Rangers continue to prepare, even though they don’t know what they will be asked to do.
That’s the reality of baseball in 2020, though.
“This is not a normal year. We just have to accept that,” Daniels said. “If we want to play, which very clearly we all do, we’ve got to be able to make some sacrifices and bend a little bit more than we typically would be able to.”
Daniels confirmed that the Rangers have helped MLB explore the possibility of Arlington serving as a hub for perhaps one-third of the 30 teams to call their temporary homes.
Aside from Globe Life Field, which comes with a retractable roof, there are ample facilities in the Metroplex that could host MLB teams for training and games. The area also doesn’t lack for hotel rooms and other amenities that players would find suitable for a potential long-term stay.
The idea of all 30 teams being housed and playing games in quarantine in Arizona has been panned by some of the game’s best players, and an ESPN report Monday said the most likely plan is for teams to begin readying for an 80-100 game season in June with play to start in early July and run through October.
As far as Daniels knows, the Three State Plan is only one of many concepts MLB has contemplated.
“Depending upon a variety of the other factors, it makes a lot of sense,” Daniels said. “We’ve had some involvement, just from a due-diligence standpoint, helping the league gather information, but I just want to stress that’s really what it is at this point. It’s one of several ideas that the league is flushing out.”
To that end, the Rangers aren’t acting any differently as they guide their players through what has become a second offseason.
A small group of players has been working out at Globe Life Field, doing all activities except on-field hitting. Most players are spread across the country and are making due with the facilities they have wherever they may be.
Right-hander Corey Kluber, for instance, is throwing off a wooden mound into a net in his backyard near Boston.
The Rangers, though, will be ready whenever MLB gives the word to go back to work.
“We’re continuing to do what we can from a distance to keep our players in some sort of readiness,” Daniels said. “But we’re not planning for any kind of restart. We’ll be ready. It won’t take us long to get ramped up. I think we’ve done a good job of staying in touch and thinking through possibilities.”
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