How MLB’s reported proposed season would benefit (and hurt) Red Sox

We could have a 2020 Major League Baseball season, after all. It will just look a lot different than the 2019 season.

MLB submitted a proposal to the MLB Players Association for a shortened 2020 season Wednesday after commissioner Rob Manfred met face-to-face with MLBPA chief Tony Clark.

The union hasn’t accepted MLB’s proposal, but the offer gives us a rough outline of could be in store this season.

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Here are some details of the proposed season, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich:

— A 60-game regular season beginning July 19th or 20th and lasting 70 days until late September.

— A postseason expanded from 10 to 16 teams that features eight three-game series (four in each league) in the Wild Card round. 

— Players receive about 37 percent of their total 2020 salaries in a prorated pay framework.

— A universal designated hitter rule for both 2020 and 2021 in which National League teams also would feature a DH in their lineups.

— An expected schedule format in which teams mostly play opponents in their geographic region, meaning the Red Sox would play most of their games against the AL East and NL East. (Per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times).

And here’s how those details impact the Red Sox:

60-game regular season with expanded playoffs
This season format would be very welcome news for a Boston club that was expected to struggle in 2020 after trading Mookie Betts and David Price.

The Red Sox’ biggest issue is their injury-plagued starting rotation. But fewer trips through the rotation means less wear and tear on Boston’s arms and gives the Sox the possibility of shortening their staff to four starters — which is good, considering they don’t have a fifth starter anyway.

Adding three more Wild Card slots in each league also gives Boston greater odds to make the postseason even if it hovers around .500.

Universal DH
This news? Less ideal for Boston. That’s because Red Sox DH J.D. Martinez, who has an opt-out in his contract after this season, now has 15 NL clubs to consider signing with this winter if he doesn’t want to play in the outfield.

Our John Tomase wrote last month that there’s a good chance Martinez leaves Boston if the NL adds a DH. Well…

Schedule format against AL East and NL East
This format also would be sub-optimal for the Sox. DraftKings Sportsbook’s latest 2020 World Series odds include three of the NL’s East’s four teams — the Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies — in the top eight, while the New York Mets aren’t far behind at No. 12.

The AL East also boasts two legitimate title contenders in the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays, so the more Boston plays the East this season, the harder its path to the postseason will be.

MLB and the union reportedly still are working out their differences, so these details are subject to change. Stay tuned.

How MLB’s reported proposed season would benefit (and hurt) Red Sox originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

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