There’s going to be a lot of things coming out over the next few days from the deal agreed to by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association. For now we only know a little bit as far as things relate to the deal as a whole, and when it comes to potential “minor league” things, we know even less.
With that said, we do know a little bit. It sounds like there’s going to be a 60-man roster of sorts for each organization.
Here come more adjusted rules for 2020:
*Transactions freeze ends this Friday at noon ET
*Teams must submit 60-man player pool names by Sunday at 3 ET
*In-person scouting will be allowed.
*Teams can take up to 3 taxi squad players on road (but if 3, one must be a catcher) https://t.co/Og6Ix7TBeE
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) June 23, 2020
We know that Major League Baseball has told teams that they need a second site for their “taxi squad” to play/practice at and that it needs to be within 100 miles of their home stadium. According to Jayson Stark, up to three players from that squad can travel with the team on road trips.
Another thing we know is that the players on the taxi squad won’t be getting big league service time, or anything remotely close to big league pay.
One thing I'd been curious about was how taxi squad players would be paid. From the manual: "Players on the Taxi Squad will not receive Major League service and will be paid at the Minor League rate contained in their UPC" (it does note they'll get daily allowances on the road)
— Emma Baccellieri (@emmabaccellieri) June 24, 2020
As noted by Sports Illustrated’s Emma Baccellieri above, the pay is set by their UPC. That, however, doesn’t give us an exact answer on what they will be paid other than their minor league pay. But that varies quite a bit. Free agents negotiated their salary. Players who haven’t reached free agency have different pay scales depending on the level they are playing at – and last I checked, there’s never been a “taxi squad” level, so what exactly are non-free agents being paid? The Triple-A rate? The Double-A rate? Will they be paid at the rate for the last minor league level they played at in 2019? We don’t know the exact answer yet.
What we do know is that the answer sucks. These guys are going out into a pandemic to play sports and they are going to be paid next to nothing. They may be able to reach the Major Leagues a bit sooner in this kind of scenario, of course, which could ultimately be beneficial for them. But there’s a lot of risk here, too.
As to why they could reach the Majors quicker, well, if someone tests positive they’re going to hit the “COVID-19” list, which will be different from the injured list.
While the regular injured list will be for 10 days in 2020, MLB is expected to institute a special COVID-19-related injured list for players who test positive, have confirmed exposure or are exhibiting symptoms. Players would not have a specific number of days to spend on it.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 23, 2020
In a non-pandemic season, an injury may be required in order to get called up. In a pandemic? Well, as ridiculously stupid as this sounds to type, a player getting sick could get a minor leaguer called up. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go bathe in bleach for an hour after typing that disgusting, but true statement.
The last thing that we know about, at least as of 1:19am ET as I type this, is that the trade deadline is going to change in 2020. Usually it’s the final day of July, but with the season set to start on July 23rd or July 24th, that doesn’t make much sense. This year the trade deadline has been pushed to August 31st.
The trade deadline, or more specifically the trade market could be really interesting. Teams could be looking to move contracts, and while more teams are likely to be cautious of adding money, there’s a chance someone is simply willing to “go for it” and try to add someone for less than a month of the regular season and then playoffs. Of course that comes with the risk of hoping you can get through September and October without baseball being shut down, too. It’s going to be a weird season – strap in.