Will spring training start on time? Baseball waiting for clarity
Spring training is just over a month away.
Well, it usually it is.
Like everything else in the age of COVID-19, nothing is certain in major-league baseball right now, and that includes the opening of training camps in Arizona and Florida.
"I believe we all know the same things right now," a source said. "I'm sure there will be more clarity soon."
The sooner the better.
With the current free-agent market slowed by last season's financial damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, most teams continue to wait before making anything more than one-year offers.
"In this environment, this is a business and we always haven an eye on the finances of every deal," Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said. "(Right now), I feel some of those things are magnified."
In past seasons, stars like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado have waited until spring training started to sign, and that's undoubtedly going to be the case again this year.
The obvious question is, when is camp going to start?
Typically, pitchers and catchers report on or around Feb. 15, with position players checking in a week later.
That is still the plan, but arrival dates are subject to change.
"I'm very confident we're going to start on time," Cubs outfielder Ian Happ said on the Bernstein & Rahimi Show on 670-AM last week.
Happ is the Cubs' union representative.
"We want baseball back on time," he said. "We've proved the concept that we can play in the midst of a pandemic. We've set the blueprint, and guys just want to get going and have a full spring training to get ready and have a regular 2021 season, or as regular as we can."
After spring training was halted by COVID-19 last March, the game was shut down until July 3. Teams squeezed in a three-week summer camp before playing a 60-game season.
This year, spring training could able to resume in mid-February, but there are multiple questions:
• Will MLB reduce the normal six weeks of camp down to three or four weeks?
• Will teams have to split up their rosters and have morning and afternoon workouts?
• Will fans be able to attend exhibition games in the Cactus League (Arizona) and Grapefruit League (Florida)?
• Will the media continue doing all player/staff interviews via Zoom?