The MLB season is on hold, but we’re still rolling. Join us for the ride every Thursday with the Extra Innings podcast, hosted by Matt Breen, Bob Brookover and Scott Lauber.
Here’s a snippet from this week’s podcast. Listen to the full version embedded below:
Matt Breen (MB): So we’re stuck watching Paw Patrol and whatever shows Bob says he’s watching as junk TV because obviously there’s no sports. And we have no idea right now when baseball is going to return. We can take guesses that maybe mid-May, maybe June. But really, if you listen to other things, this could go into July and August. So it’s a total guess right now. But just from what you guys have gathered, do you guys have a better idea than what I’m saying about when baseball might come back?
Bob Brookover (BB): I’ll go first because I was the guy who did the (Joe) Girardi call .. and Joe didn’t seem to have any real idea. He threw out the date May 15th, but he threw that out as a guess. So, I mean, that’s the best case scenario it sounds like is May 15th that they’re back to playing baseball. I have to assume that (date) came from somewhere. But it’s just a guess with anybody right now. I mean, if this becomes a pandemic of Italy proportions, we could be looking at June or July for the start of this season, I think.
Scott Lauber (SL): Or, you know, or the nuclear scenario of no season at all. And, you know, not only do we have no idea when it’s going to start, but it seems like more and more questions keep cropping up by the day.
I read something the other day, like what happens to service time like and I’ve thought about this. But let’s say in the case of J.T. Realmuto, right? He’s supposed to be a free agent next year after the season. But that’s all predicated on accruing a certain amount of days that he’s 100 and whatever days away, 105 days away or whatever it is from becoming a free agent. If these days don’t count toward his service time, maybe he’s not a free agent at the end of 2020. Maybe the Phillies have him in 2021.
These are all questions that I didn’t even think of even a few days ago that are being talked about now by the league and the Players Association. And of course, pales in comparison to this pandemic that we’re dealing with on a global level throughout our society.
But in the little world of baseball that we exist in for our jobs and whatnot, I mean, these are big issues about, you know, this changes the whole entire calendar and financial structure of the game potentially.
BB: I don’t think they can do that. There’s already some friction between the union and the owners with the CBA looming ... And if you do that, I mean, you just have to grandfather this season in as whatever season you play is a full season. Otherwise, you’re looking at Armageddon here between these two sides ... if they tried to do something like that.
SL: Probably true. But then how do you deal with arbitration cases which are based on numbers, which are based on comparisons to other players? And so if you’re an arbitration guy for the first time, if you’re supposed to be an arbitration guy for the first time next year, your career numbers are not what previous arbitration guys have had. And then what do you do? Do you use projections? I mean, it’s just a mind-blowing amount of questions because they’ve never gone through anything like this before.
MB: Yeah, I think you’re gonna have to for service time pro-rate a year. A year is now. If it’s 100 days or whatever, by the time the season starts, I think you should if you are on the 2020 roster in the majors for whatever that season is, that that has to count as a full year just as equal to a 2019 year. I think you can’t penalize the players, like J.T. Realmuto, just because the season was half as long as it was the year before.
SL: What if there is no season?
MB: That’s very interesting. So if there is no season, does this count as a year of Bryce Harper’s 13-year contract? I guess it matters if he gets paid. I don’t know.
BB: That’s a fascinating question.
MB: I have no idea.
BB: There’s a lot to figure out in that. How lucky is football that they’re in the offseason? Because they don’t have to deal with that. This thought crossed my mind yesterday. Can you imagine if there was no Super Bowl? If they said, you know, we’re just not having a Super Bowl. Or if this was the middle of summer, can you imagine how crazy people would be if they didn’t have their summers?