Covid and MLB

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
49,888
I think we need a new thread just to try to keep track of developments here as MLB attempts to start up again, camps scheduled for July 1 and Opening Day July 23.

I'm not a betting man but it has to be under 50 percent currently that MLB even makes it to Opening Day with things seemingly out of control in ARI, TEX, CA and FL to name the big ones.

View: https://twitter.com/JeffPassan/status/1276731933750448129?s=20
 

JMDurron

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
4,923
These conditions might actually test MLB's plan to forcibly relocate teams mid-season. It'll certainly be interesting.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 10, 2017
1,219
I kind of know some of the reasons why they didn't go into a "bubble" season like NBA:
1) The best bubble locations are FL and AZ which will be HAF (Hot As F*&#) without domes.
2) Owners somehow (laughably) believe they'll get SOME fans into the home stands before the end of the season.
3) Less likely for the players to return if they had to go away for 2 months+ minimum. At least in the NBA's case the reg season was close to complete so you were talking about 2/3-3/4 of players playing 8 games, 1/2 of the players in the 1st round, 1/4 players in the 2nd round etc etc. Much less quantity of people away from home a long time.

But when the season actually gets going, the decision to spread out is going to look absolutely stupid. The "good" news is baseball has always been a game of attrition with a next man up mentality, and most stars nowadays do have one DL break or another during the season. So they are more attune to dealing with dozens of players out due to quarantine than the NBA will be.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
12,255
Maine
I'm curious to see how they do the scheduling. If the plan is for divisional games to be split 6 home/6 away, it would make more sense to play all six of each in one go than split them into two visits (3 games each) like they would in a normal season. Have to think the less traveling players have to do (not being cooped up in planes together), the better it will be for them.
 

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
49,888
I'm curious to see how they do the scheduling. If the plan is for divisional games to be split 6 home/6 away, it would make more sense to play all six of each in one go than split them into two visits (3 games each) like they would in a normal season. Have to think the less traveling players have to do (not being cooped up in planes together), the better it will be for them.
It’s only 10 games against each divisional opponent, not 12, so that makes even more sense.
 

JCizzle

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 11, 2006
11,064
I'm bullish on the NBA and NHL chances, but I don't see how MLB will be able to pull this off with players actively living in their home communities. I hope to be proven wrong though!
 

uncannymanny

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Jan 12, 2007
7,412
Anecdotally, I follow several, but not many, players on Instagram. Every single one of them has been gathering with friends the entire pandemic. I don’t get the impression these guys are going to be living in individual bubbles.
 

grimshaw

the new rudy
SoSH Member
May 16, 2007
3,460
Portland
I'm curious to see how they do the scheduling. If the plan is for divisional games to be split 6 home/6 away, it would make more sense to play all six of each in one go than split them into two visits (3 games each) like they would in a normal season. Have to think the less traveling players have to do (not being cooped up in planes together), the better it will be for them.
Behind a paywall from this article https://theathletic.com/1895090/2020/06/26/rosenthal-blockbuster-trades-are-less-likely-schedule-complaints-scramble-for-jobs/ but It will be as follows:

-12 total series among the 4 teams in their own division
-2 3 game series against their "rival" (guessing we'll be stuck with the Braves or Phillies)
-2 two game series(!) against two other NL East teams
-2 3 game series against the other teams.

The reasoning behind not having longer series is logistical - each team has to play 20 series,. I don't know why that is - maybe scheduling days off. They could have 8 road series and 8 home series but instead they are doing 10 and 10. Reason number infinity for how ridiculous this off season has been.
 

YTF

Member
SoSH Member
I can see no way this 'season' can ever be taken seriously as to stats, results or anything else. If more than a handful of players are forced out by testing positive I don't think they can even complete this rump abortion of a 'season'.
I very much agree with your first sentence and have similar concerns as to the second. IF (big IF) they are able to pull this off uninterrupted I welcome it. I dread the idea of no baseball at all or a handful of games before getting shut down. There's good reason to doubt that a sixty game season followed by an expanded playoff could be held up statistically to seasons past and as a rule I'm not a proponent of expanding the MLB playoff format, but I'm looking forward to it for a couple of reasons. First it's going to provide us with a few more games to watch and while sixty games isn't a lot, it may lend some excitement and surprises to the playoffs. My reason for thinking this is while sixty may be enough to cull the worst teams from contention it may allow some teams who are just hitting their stride to get in. We may not yet be able to gauge just how good some of these teams are and sixty games shouldn't be enough for any team to lap the competition so I think there may be some intrigue to this post season as the regular season standings should be close. It's not the season that any of us wanted or expected, but I'm looking forward to seeing baseball again and have my fingers crossed that they're somehow able to get these games in.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
12,255
Maine
Zimmerman is an interesting case. He's no longer a "big money" guy but he had been up until this year. The team declined his $20M option for this year, and he ended up re-signing for what was essentially his buy-out of that option ($2M). This all happened amid retirement talk, so he might be done for good, not just for this season.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

Homeland Security
SoSH Member
Dec 4, 2005
19,113
Portsmouth, NH
Anecdotally, I follow several, but not many, players on Instagram. Every single one of them has been gathering with friends the entire pandemic. I don’t get the impression these guys are going to be living in individual bubbles.
Of the roughly 900 MLB players - or call it twice that if considering the 60 man rosters - how many does "several, but not many" equate to?
 

Ale Xander

Lacks black ink
SoSH Member
Oct 31, 2013
28,593
Zimmerman is an interesting case. He's no longer a "big money" guy but he had been up until this year. The team declined his $20M option for this year, and he ended up re-signing for what was essentially his buy-out of that option ($2M). This all happened amid retirement talk, so he might be done for good, not just for this season.
Yeah, if you're old and no making a lot, why would you play?
 

uncannymanny

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Jan 12, 2007
7,412
Of the roughly 900 MLB players - or call it twice that if considering the 60 man rosters - how many does "several, but not many" equate to?
A half dozen or so. I explicitly stated the extent of the scientific value of the anecdote, but I’m totally sure the rest of them have been holed up.
 

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
49,888
Non elite guys over 35 who take a year off of baseball tend to not make it back.
I think we're going to have to throw out a lot of that kind of conventional wisdom for the next few years, because no one is playing anything close to a full season in 2020. How will this affect Brett Gardner, for instance? Maybe it will extend his career a season because of decreased wear and tear this year? We'll have to wait and see.
 

Salem's Lot

Andy Moog! Andy God Damn Moog!
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
7,288
Gallows Hill
I think we're going to have to throw out a lot of that kind of conventional wisdom for the next few years, because no one is playing anything close to a full season in 2020. How will this affect Brett Gardner, for instance? Maybe it will extend his career a season because of decreased wear and tear this year? We'll have to wait and see.
I disagree, teams are always looking to get younger and cheaper, and would rather give a kid making the league minimum a shot vs. signing a 35 year old as it is. When that player didn’t play the previous season, it makes the decision to go with the kid in house even easier.

Now if the next CBA actually has a salary floor, then I could be completely wrong on this.
 

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
49,888
Yeah, there's just too many variables right now, including the next CBA.
 

grimshaw

the new rudy
SoSH Member
May 16, 2007
3,460
Portland
Assuming the DH is here to stay in the NL, it opens up a couple jobs for aging guys like Zimmerman who may be useful platoon bats (career wRC+ 142 vs lefties). Especially with a 26th spot basically made for that type of player.

He specifically may be done, but guys who are slipping in the field can probably squeeze another couple million to hang around a few more seasons in a cheap market like Miami. I'm sure JD Martinez is pretty psyched by this new development.
 
Last edited:

Papelbon's Poutine

Homeland Security
SoSH Member
Dec 4, 2005
19,113
Portsmouth, NH
He specifically may be done, but guys who are slipping in the field can probably squeeze another couple million to hang around a few more seasons. I'm sure JD Martinez is pretty psyched by this new development.
I don't think it changes much for him. Yes, if it sticks there's twice as many destinations for him; but if he opts out, who is paying $22M/yr for a DH in the coming climate?
 

grimshaw

the new rudy
SoSH Member
May 16, 2007
3,460
Portland
I don't think it changes much for him. Yes, if it sticks there's twice as many destinations for him; but if he opts out, who is paying $22M/yr for a DH in the coming climate?
Talking about down the line after his contract expires. But ya, I'm not even sure he'd get 15mill on the open market now.
 

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
49,888
That Desmond post is really great, definitely recommend clicking through and reading the whole thing.
 

sean1562

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 17, 2011
2,836
Zimmerman has to be done. I imagine this year was gonna be his last season and he was gonna turn it into a farewell thing with the Nats. Why do that if the fans arent even gonna be there? Glad to see him win a ring and have some key hits during the postseason. I think people forget just how great he was early in his career. His shoulder/throwing issues kept him from a HoF career. He was such a great defensive 3b and the lone bright spot on that terrible Nats team for years.
 

SirPsychoSquints

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 13, 2005
4,636
Charleston, SC
Zimmerman has to be done. I imagine this year was gonna be his last season and he was gonna turn it into a farewell thing with the Nats. Why do that if the fans arent even gonna be there? Glad to see him win a ring and have some key hits during the postseason. I think people forget just how great he was early in his career. His shoulder/throwing issues kept him from a HoF career. He was such a great defensive 3b and the lone bright spot on that terrible Nats team for years.
Maybe I'm quibbling with hyperbole, but I have trouble calculating more than, very generously, 15 WAR lost due to the position switch over his career. That'd still only get him to 53 career WAR, which isn't really a sure-fire HOF entry. The following are between 52 & 54 WAR since 1930: Fred McGriff, Jack Clark, Ron Cey, Cesar Cedeno, Bill Dickey, Bert Campaneris.

You'd have to argue that, but for those injuries, he would have a lot more playing time (he's missed what, ~3 years of PA's due to injuries and/or being benched?) and would still be productive in the back half of his 30's (he's currently 34). I think that's all pretty rosy.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

Homeland Security
SoSH Member
Dec 4, 2005
19,113
Portsmouth, NH
Maybe I'm quibbling with hyperbole, but I have trouble calculating more than, very generously, 15 WAR lost due to the position switch over his career. That'd still only get him to 53 career WAR, which isn't really a sure-fire HOF entry. The following are between 52 & 54 WAR since 1930: Fred McGriff, Jack Clark, Ron Cey, Cesar Cedeno, Bill Dickey, Bert Campaneris.

You'd have to argue that, but for those injuries, he would have a lot more playing time (he's missed what, ~3 years of PA's due to injuries and/or being benched?) and would still be productive in the back half of his 30's (he's currently 34). I think that's all pretty rosy.
He had an arthritic shoulder that derailed him, I don't think it's crazy that minus that, some of those late 20's/early 30's years he'd have been closer to the 6+WAR guy he was as opposed to the -0.7WAR guy he turned into. I wouldn't chalk all of his lower stats to simply the position switch.
 

sean1562

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 17, 2011
2,836
My bias may be showing. I was a teenager when the Nats opened in DC. I was able to go to loads of games because they were terrible and in an awful stadium so tickets were dirt cheap. I just really like the guy. Before he lost the ability to throw the ball to 1B he was one of the better defensive 3B around.
 

grimshaw

the new rudy
SoSH Member
May 16, 2007
3,460
Portland
Interesting career comparison is Longoria who is a year younger but started with even more of a bang both in the field and at the plate and seemed headed to the HoF through his age 28 season or so.

Zimmerman .343/.475 wRC+116.
Longoria .335/.474 wRC+119 (current bWAR 56)

Defensive value peaks early though. Longoria has been very durable and has basically just become an average major leaguer. If Zimmerman had played 3rd all this time, I don't know if he a) stays healthy or b) maintains the production since 3b has more wear and tear.

Of course Rolen smokes both of them but somehow isn't in the Hall yet.
 

YTF

Member
SoSH Member
I think we're going to have to throw out a lot of that kind of conventional wisdom for the next few years, because no one is playing anything close to a full season in 2020. How will this affect Brett Gardner, for instance? Maybe it will extend his career a season because of decreased wear and tear this year? We'll have to wait and see.
You may be right, but I also wonder what essentially a year and half away from the game does for/to Zimmerman at his age. It's definitely going to depend on the player, but I think some of the guys do extend an extra year or two. A 60 game season plus playoffs is half a season give or take. Almost like missing half a season due to injury without being injured and the season scheduled to end near it's normal time will help keep a natural flow from one season to the other IF everything plays out as planned.
 

SirPsychoSquints

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 13, 2005
4,636
Charleston, SC
He had an arthritic shoulder that derailed him, I don't think it's crazy that minus that, some of those late 20's/early 30's years he'd have been closer to the 6+WAR guy he was as opposed to the -0.7WAR guy he turned into. I wouldn't chalk all of his lower stats to simply the position switch.
6+? He had exactly 2 years above 5 in his career.

On second look, his career WAR of 24.5 through age 25 is stronger than I was thinking - it's 60th in MLB history, right around Giancarlo Stanton, Ivan Rodriguez, Adrian Beltre, Derek Jeter. And also Grady Sizemore, Joe Torre, Hanley Ramirez.

Since 1947, 14 position players have been between 23 and 27 WAR through age 25. Carlos Correia did this in 4 years, and we're talking about Zimmerman, so let's call it 12 players.
5 made the HOF, 2 failed (Torre & Callison), 3 won't (Hanley, Wright, Sizemore), and 2 seem somewhere on the possible-likely range (Stanton & Beltre).

So I retract my criticism. Simply based on his early career performance, he's somewhere around 50/50 shot at that point, which is way higher than I would've thought.
 

ookami7m

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
4,726
Mobile, AL
Since 1947, 14 position players have been between 23 and 27 WAR through age 25. Carlos Correia did this in 4 years, and we're talking about Zimmerman, so let's call it 12 players.
5 made the HOF, 2 failed (Torre & Callison), 3 won't (Hanley, Wright, Sizemore), and 2 seem somewhere on the possible-likely range (Stanton & Beltre).

So I retract my criticism. Simply based on his early career performance, he's somewhere around 50/50 shot at that point, which is way higher than I would've thought.
A HOF without Beltre would be a joke. But Zimmerman is obviously a Hall of VeryGood guy even if he hadn’t got hurt.
 

greek_gawd_of_walks

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 14, 2009
5,539
el guapo's belly
A HOF without Beltre would be a joke. But Zimmerman is obviously a Hall of VeryGood guy even if he hadn’t got hurt.
Beltre is first ballot imo. WAR is an imperfect stat, but the B-R computation has him 41st all-time, ahead of Boggs and Kaline and just behind Foxx. One of my largest regrets as a Sox fan, transaction wise anyways, is not re-signing that guy. On top of being one of the best third basemen in the history of the game, he was a joy to watch and a quality teammate.
 
Last edited:

InsideTheParker

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
27,751
Pioneer Valley
Hmmm. The thread title and the OP say one thing, the other posts seem to go off target a bit. Which doesn't matter, but I was expecting to see more names of players affected by the virus or deciding to avoid it by not playing this season.
 

staz

Intangible
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 2, 2004
14,319
The cradle of the game.
First Summer Camp highlight I saw last night was Gerrit Cole whiffing a teammate and immediately fist-bumping his 1B, which is of course verboten under league guidance. That's all I need to see: it's not a matter of 'if,' rather 'when' the season gets abandoned.

The only matter left to debate is how much spread will Manfred tolerate before pulling the plug. Unlike the rest of society, MLB has actually set up a decent supply chain of players, but guessing most will never get called up because any appetite for continuation will wash away when the 300th, 400th, 500th player tests positive.

And you just know there'll be that outlier team riding relatively few infections to a gaudy and unexpected 18-12 record, whose fanbase will be PISSED when they shut it down. Maybe from a state that has their COVID shit together, for example.
 

staz

Intangible
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 2, 2004
14,319
The cradle of the game.
The Phillies added four players to the IL yesterday with “undisclosed ailments”. I’m guessing this is the Covid IL.
I mean, it's ok the world knows Mitch Haniger blew out a testicle, but Scott Kingery's (assumed) positive COVID test is protected information? If every other injury/illness is 'disclosed,' then it's pretty clear what 'undisclosed' means. What am I missing?
 

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
49,888
The only matter left to debate is how much spread will Manfred tolerate before pulling the plug. Unlike the rest of society, MLB has actually set up a decent supply chain of players, but guessing most will never get called up because any appetite for continuation will wash away when the 300th, 400th, 500th player tests positive.
I thought you were being hyperbolic with those numbers, but 300 is just 10 players per team so it definitely seems possible. I agree that it's hard to be optimistic with nationwide cases hitting new highs every day.