MLB, MLBPA map out health/safety protocols; still disputing money
Jeff Passan of ESPN reports on the health-and-safety manual that Major League Baseball is preparing for the 2020 season.
Commonplace activities like high-fives, fist bumps, hugs, spitting, tobacco use and chewing sunflower seeds will be prohibited during games. Players, managers, coaches, umpires and essential personnel must consent to be tested regularly for COVID-19. Positive tests would not postpone scheduled games, but those individuals would be self-quarantined. The Athletic obtained the visual aid below regarding social distancing.
However, the two sides don’t appear close to resolving the issue of player compensation. The commissioner’s office presented a grim projection of the owners’ finances titled “Economics of Playing Without Fans in Attendance,” according to the Associated Press, to shame the union. In the event that players receive pro-rated salaries (as previously negotiated in March), they’re claiming the industry stands to lose about $4 billion in 2020, including $126 million for the Marlins.
These differences will need to be ironed out by the end of the month for MLB to stick to its target timeline of an early July Opening Day.
Marlins bench coach and offensive coordinator James Rowson joined Sev & Geff Live on Friday. He explained what made the Twins offense so successful in 2019 under his guidance and how he’s attempting to bring out the full potential of hitters on his new team. Rowson was asked directly about a handful of young Marlins. His take on Lewis Brinson was especially optimistic.
James Rowson on Lewis Brinson: "I would bet anything that that's gonna be a really good player, an above-average player in this league."— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) May 15, 2020
Manager Don Mattingly is under contract through the 2021 season, so it’s too soon to speculate about who his successor will be. But Rowson could emerge as a leading candidate if he helps Miami surge in the run-scoring department and nurtures genuine relationships with key players in the clubhouse.
Gallen grateful for Miami player development
Former Marlin Zac Gallen discussed his development as a pitcher with David Laurila of FanGraphs. Gallen wasn’t regarded as a “top prospect” upon arriving in the Marcell Ozuna trade, but his stock had risen dramatically by the time he left for Arizona last July. And he credits the Fish for a lot of that.
During his first major league spring training in 2018, Miami coaches convinced him to move from the first-base side of the rubber to the third-base side:
“I actually fought hard not to do it, because I’d had so much success coming through college and in my first [full] year of pro ball. I got to Miami and the first thing they wanted to do was change me. I was like, ‘You guys have hardly even seen me pitch.’ But I’d had a few rough outings that spring, so I didn’t really have a leg to stand on.”
They also explained how he should be utilizing his four-seam fastball:
“The Marlins were kind of like, ‘Hey, you have a fastball where you can pitch up in the zone.’ That was tough at first, because for me it had always been about working down in the zone. To change that visual, and pitch up in the zone, was a little bit of an adjustment. But it’s helped me tremendously.”
Pitching in 4 Minor Leaguers
With the Minor League Baseball season likely to be cancelled and dozens of teams expected to lose their affiliations, it’s an uncomfortable time to be a professional baseball player. Many of these athletes have too much pride to ask for financial and emotional help, but that hasn’t stopped generous businesses and individuals from stepping up to provide it.
Pitching in 4 Minor Leaguers officially opened to the public last week. Founded by three college baseball players, they’re selling apparel, baseball and general fitness products, and more. Profits are split with the players participating.
To support Marlins right-hander Matt Givin, use code “mattgivin” at checkout (which also saves 5% off your order).
- Marlins team photographer Joseph Guzy compiled dozens of his favorite Brian Anderson photos from the past year.
- Bowling Green State University in Ohio is eliminating its baseball program as part of their athletic department’s COVID-19-induced budget reduction. Jon Berti is the only BGSU alum currently playing in the majors. Unfortunately, unless there is a miraculous turnaround this summer in stopping the spread of the virus, other U.S. schools are expected to follow suit.
- The latest roundup of 2020 MLB season simulations includes details about Sixto Sánchez’s first week in the big leagues.
- Our sister site Purple Row has been doing a detailed sim of the 2020 Rockies with MLB The Show, including broadcasts with original play-by-play calls! Miami took advantage of the slumping Rox with wins from Friday and Saturday, which you can rewatch on YouTube.
- I leave you with the encouraging sight of Sixto training in the Dominican Republic (it was suspected that the Marlins held Sánchez back from participating in Grapefruit League games this spring due to his poor conditioning).