The rules are still coming out here and there with the agreement between the Major League Baseball Players Association and Major League Baseball for a 2020 season. Yesterday we covered some of the minor league related news from that agreement here. Over at Redleg Nation we looked at a lot of the new rules and regulations as they relate to the big league level for 2020.
We found out on Wednesday that the Reds would be utilizing the facilities at Prasco Laboratories in Mason – a facility that has two baseball fields, a weight room, a training room, a cafeteria, multiple clubhouses, and multiple meeting rooms. Both fields also have lighting and can be used for night practices if needed. During spring training 2.0 the Reds will split up their team between this facility and Great American Ballpark, and once the season begins, this site will be the place where the taxi squad will practice each day.
Speaking of the taxi squad, we also got confirmation on the exact number of players that will be on it. Teams are required to submit a 60-man roster to Major League Baseball by Sunday at 3pm ET. When the regular season begins, the big league roster will be 30 players, with the remaining 30 players being on the taxi squad. After 15 days the big league roster will be down to 28 players, and then two weeks after that it will be dropped down to 26 players.
While the Reds haven’t made their 60-man roster public yet, we do know that it’s going to feature some prospects who may not necessarily be guys the team is looking to help out in 2020.
“The group that will be at the alternate site will include a few of our prospects, I guess you could say a few of the players that are further off that we would like to see get development, but we are philosophical decision is to support the team to win this year. I think, if anything, we’re leaning towards putting players at the alternate site we know can come to the big leagues and help us win soon,” said Reds President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams. “And we will make sure that those needs are met first before we worry about prioritizing development. I understand that some teams may take a different approach, but we’re focused on now.”
That certainly leaves open a question of exactly how many prospects who maybe weren’t pegged to be in Double-A or Triple-A this year there could be on the taxi squad for development purposes. Four or five guys? Clearly there will be more prospects around than just four or five, but I’m speaking specifically about guys who outside of a meteoric development weren’t in the plans for 2020 – guys who were set to go play in A-ball this year, not the Tyler Stephenson, Nick Lodolo, or Jose Garcia types of guys.
Perhaps a guy like Michel Triana, who hasn’t spent much time playing baseball in an organized fashion for a long time due to leaving Cuba, then having to sit out and wait to sign before finally getting action this spring for a few days before spring shut down, could find a roster spot for development. Maybe you get a guy like Jose Adames, who hasn’t pitched in a game that counted in the standings since 2016, has undergone multiple surgeries since then, but also hit triple-digits with the Reds this spring. A player like Hunter Greene, coming back from Tommy John surgery who was likely to be cautiously eased back in during the year will be there. The roster breakdown will certainly be interesting.
There wasn’t a ton of minor league related stuff touched on by Williams during the nearly 30-minute chat with the local media, but he was asked about a potential minor league season and as expected, it doesn’t seem likely.
“Looking at the calendar, it’s getting to the point where it’s probably going to be pretty challenging to pull off. My understanding is that MLB and the owners wanted to get the regular season resolved,” said Williams. “Now they’ll turn their attention to either minor league seasons or in absence of minor league seasons, the continued development of minor league players. I think anything and everything is on the table there”
“My reading of the tea leaves is that picking up a minor league season like we are trying to pick up a Major League season is probably a lot less likely. But that final decision will be made above my pay grade. I believe if we don’t have one, there will be a lot of attention paid to try to develop those players in some form or fashion. Whether it’s getting them games or getting them practice, and whether or not that involves the minor league markets, we’ll have to see. ”
JJ Cooper of Baseball America noted late on Wednesday night that he is hearing that a decision on the minor league season will be made in the next week to 10 days.
I'm hearing a decision should be made in the next week to 10 days. https://t.co/1agxDzG9tW
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) June 25, 2020
As has been noted recently, there have been talks about an extended/expansion of the Arizona Fall League in order to provide additional opportunities for minor leaguers to potentially get some game action this year.