Cubs Complete Travis Lakins Trade

The Cubs have sent minor league catcher Jhonny Pereda to the Boston Red Sox to complete a January 21st trade in which the Cubs acquired RHRP Travis Lakins from the Red Sox for Future Considerations. (Lakins had been Designated for Assignment by the Red Sox on 1/17). 

The Cubs then lost Lakins off waivers to the Baltimore Orioles (who have the #2 MLB waiver claim priority) ten days later when the Cubs attempted to remove him from the MLB 40-man roster to make room on the 40 for free-agent RHRP Jeremy Jeffress. 

Pereda was signed by the Cubs as a 16-year old IFA out of Venezuela in 2013, and he spent seven seasons in the Cubs system (first two with VSL Cubs, then two with AZL Cubs, and then one each at South Bend, Myrtle Beach and Tennessee).   

While the 23-year old Pereda hit just 241/336/305 at AA this past season, he did win the 2019 Rawlings Minor League Gold Glove Award as the top defensive catcher in the minors. He was eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2019 but signed a 2020 minor league successor contract that kept him under Cubs club control for another season, and he also received an NRI to MLB Spring Training.

Pereda was projected to be the back-up catcher at AAA Iowa in 2020 with legit potential to be an MLB back-up catcher, and is (once-again) eligible to be a minor league 6YFA after the season. 

Presuming there are no other "future considerations" still pending from the Lakins trade, the Cubs essentially exchanged Pereda for $50,000 (the waiver price they received from the Orioles for Lakins).  

Comments

I think the most puzzling aspect to the Travis Lakins Caper is that the only plausible reason for the Cubs to have struck a pre-emptive trade with the Red Sox instead of waiting and hoping to win a waiver claim is that the Cubs believed that another club with a better waiver claim priority would almost certainly claim him. So to ensure that they would be able to acquire Lakins, the Cubs must have offered the Red Sox something more than the $50,000 waiver price, otherwise there would have been no point in the Red Sox agreeing to the deal. 

So when the Red Sox return was reported at the time of the trade as "Future Considerations" instead of the standard "PTBNL or cash," that would seem to indicate (to me) that the Cubs were giving the Red Sox something of value beyond just a PTBNL or cash (the cash amount typically being $50,000, equivalent to the waiver price), like maybe $50,000 (the waiver price) initially - PLUS - a PTBNL or another $50,000 (Red Sox choice) at a later point in time. 

Which still doesn't explain why the Cubs struck a pre-emptive trade with Boston to acquire Lakins if they were fine with placing him onto waivers (and likely losing him for $50,000) just a week later. I guess it's possible that the Jeremy Jeffress signing (which required a 40-man roster slot) was unexpected and might have come out of nowhere, but even then, why would Lakins be the one to go? 

It's one thing to claim a player like C. D. Pelham off waivers for $50,000 and then place him back onto waivers a few days later (to make room on the 40 for Steven Souza Jr) and risk losing him for the same $50,000 you paid to get him, but to acquire a player (Lakins) in a trade for what must have been more than the $50,000 waiver price only to place the player onto waivers and risk losing him for $50,000 ten days later just does not make a lot of sense. 

This one has me scratching my head too. Surely they knew Lakins would have a hard time clearing waivers. Hate to just lose Pereda like that. Feels like they gave up more for Lakins than for Sadler, and I'm guessing Sadler might have been slightly more likely to clear waivers since he's out of options. 

"Major League Baseball has agreed with the MLBPA to grant a full year of service time to players in 2020 regardless of how many games the schedule includes.

Rosenthal adds, however, that the two sides have agreed to "table discussions" on how much service time the players would receive if the worst-case scenario plays out and the 2020 season has to be canceled entirely due to the coronavirus pandemic."

---

"As for scheduling matters, Rosenthal writes that "the players and owners are discussing a variety of options, including doubleheaders, the reduction of days off during All-Star week and the extension of the regular season past its scheduled Sept. 27 conclusion.""

(subscription required) https://theathletic.com/1699559/2020/03/25/rosenth...

AZPhil, what are the technical ramifications of optioning/not optioning guys during this period of no baseball? Seems like some teams are more eager than others to trim their roster down.

jdrnym: Ordinarily, players on an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) who are on Optional Assignment to the minors do not accrue MLB Service Time, are paid at the minor league rate rather than at the MLB rate if the player has a "split" contract, and if the player gets hurt or becomes sick after being optioned, he can be placed on a minor league IL instead of on an MLB IL (so that he cannot accrue MLB Service Time or be paid at the MLB rate while he is on the IL). Also, a player who is optioned to the minors for at least 20 days will burn an option year.   

However, MLB and MLBPA are in the process of negotiating how the delayed/postponed season will affect MLB and minor league roster limits, MLB Service Time, salaries, and option years, so the "normal" rules may not apply in 2020 (TBD).  

I do suspect that if and when the MLB regular season commences that it is very likely that MLB Active List roster limits will be expanded (to allow clubs to carry additional pitchers) for a period of time (TBD). 

fyi for anyone who bought MLB.tv

for "some reason" getting a cancel+refund via phone is like pulling teeth, but if you contact them via a webpage contact request many people are getting a cancel+refund confirmation within an hour or 2...

COVID 19 + a short draft + Manfred's obsessive drive to shrink the minor leagues will change baseball forever.  It WAS still America's grass roots sport.  Where I live, from June through August, you could see a quality live game any day of the week, within an hour's drive.  I believe that era is over.  What's going on will have ripple effects, contracting serious college ball, college summer leagues and independent pro ball just as much as the MiLB systems.  With those changes, some of the game's charm will also go.  I've seen a kid from Cape Cod play in the Cape Cod League and former MLB and Japanese pro players in the Can-Am League.  Stuff like that may be rare or nonexistent if MLB goes to a player development model more like the NFL or NBA.

i miss baseball.  it could happen in june...it may happen in late may...it might not happen either way.

there's so many things getting messed up right now i would get lost making a list.  there's some college guys making a serious "okay, we need to look at that guy" push that's dead.  former cubs draft pick russell smith (2017, LHP highschool) took last season off for injury (TCU college) and returned with a low 90s fastball, impressive control, and a MLB-quality changeup.  his "comeback" was 4 games and done thanks to this current situation...

"Jeff Passan of ESPN writes that the players and league agreed that the 2020 season won't start until "there are no bans on mass gatherings that limit the ability to play in front of fans, there are no travel restrictions and medical experts determine games will not pose a risk to health of teams and fans." Passan does add that the two sides "will consider the feasibility of playing in empty stadiums" and also at neutral sites. The players will be advanced $170 million for the months of April and May and the money can be kept if the season is canceled, service time will be pro-rated and the international signing period can be pushed back from July to January. Additionally, the Draft has been shortened to five rounds and picks will only receive $100,000 of their bonuses in 2020."

additional info... https://www.mlb.com/news/mlb-players-association-s...

this isn't the "end plan"...there's owner/player committees to flesh out future issues.  the players wanted expanded rosters (supposedly 29 player rosters for the first month), but they couldn't agree on that issue right now.

also, a couple days ago the STL/CHC "London Series" in june was cancelled...not surprising.

"Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that Major League Baseball is considering opening the season in empty spring training parks -- with no fans and all players quarantined.

The plan would have all teams stationed in one centralized location -- likely Arizona"

yeah...i really don't see the MLBPA agreeing to this weirdness...or the state of AZ because there's very little financial advantage for the state to allow this to happen vs security and other enforcement concerns for 30 teams.  even with the "jock tax" on salaries, AZ's tax is a bit of a bargain compared to many other states.

that said, they might get this started late enough on the downward curve of the virus that this would be something teams might do for a few weeks without much protest from players, teams, or local resource providers.

al kaline has died at age 85.

from highschool to the majors without touching the minors...22 seasons, all with DET...18x all-star...3000 hit club.

He played in the big leagues longer than he played any other level of organized baseball combined.

Ine of my alltime favorites.

"Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that Major League Baseball is considering doing away with the American and National Leagues for the 2020 season.

It's just one of several scenarios that the league and the players' association is discussing. The idea would be to split the 30 teams between Arizona and Florida based on the geography of their spring training sites, constructing realigned Cactus League and Grapefruit League divisions during what would be an abbreviated season. Nightengale says that the designated hitter "would likely be universally implemented" under this scenario and that two more Wild Card teams could be added or they could possibly have a postseason tournament with all 30 teams."

...this is circus level stuff, but at this point whatever...just whatever.  if we get real competitive baseball played at 100% effort level, i'll take it under almost any weird format.

Silver linings?  I see two.  Novel thought here, but with no AL/NL, how about having the SAME RULES across all of MLB in the regular season?  I suppose when the DH idea first came out, there might have been merit in testing it for a while before full adoption, but wasn't that 1973?   40+ seasons should have been enough to make this call.  The second silver lining is that there will be no need to enforce social distancing in the summer in Arizona, if spectators are allowed.  The last rookie league game I attended there, in July of 2017, it was 99 degrees during the game, AFTER DARK, with no breeze.  Dry heat, my you-know-what!  It would have to be the game of games to get me to attend in person.  For someone deep into retirement with any sort of medical condition, no way.

Silver lining number one doesn't apply across the board though. If you don't like the DH (like me), you don't want to see them try that for a full season. Once they try it, it will be implemented. The longer I get to see baseball without the DH, the better.

I think they should *really* experiment. Like, how would you make batting the pitcher competitive in a league that allows for the DH? What if you could DH for the pitcher or allow your pitchers to hit, in which case they start with a 1-0 count in every plate appearance (starting pitcher and relievers who have gotten at least one out already only). Maybe then you still let your Jake Arrieta's and Carlos Zambrano's bat?

I didn't say what the rule should be, although if you're looking to watch a random ballgame without a DH, good luck finding that outside of half of the Majors.  It isn't the 50/50 thing some National League fans think it is; more like 99/1 when you consider every level of the game from Little League through high school, college, summer league, independent, minor league and foreign.  Whatever, they don't use one set of rules in the NFL at Soldier Field and a different set at Gillette Stadium.  MLB will have to confront, once again, how decentralization has led to the professional version of the sport losing popularity to the more consistent product of the NFL and NBA over the last fifty years.  Probably some team which expected to need a DH for a few inter-league games will have to have one half the time, while another team which thinks they have the next David Ortiz will have to sit their strong bat/no glove guy more than expected, if it's a Grapefruit/Cactus configuration.

I'm going Stir Crazy! 

So...  

DH 

I absolutely hated the DH when it was implemented, but over the years I have completely changed my viewpoint. 

It's sometimes good to remember why the DH rule was implemented in the first place: 

1. To upgrade offense at a time when pitchers were dominating the game, by replacing a pitcher in the batting order with what was called at the time the "Designated Pinch-Hitter," which is to say a pinch-hitter who could be used more than once in a game without the pitcher having to leave the game.

An alternative might have been to go to an eight-man batting order, but... 

2. Another reason for implementing the DH was to keep great players like Hank Aaron and Harmon Killebrew active as "everyday players" for at least an extra year or two beyond when they otherwise would have retired. For example, if the DH rule had been implemented at an earlier time, future HOFers like Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Yogi Berra, Duke Snider, Mickey Mantle, and Ernie Banks might have played longer. 

And beyond that...

3. To allow a good offensive player like Hal McRae (who could still hit but couldn't play defense after suffering a torn rotator cuff that could not be repaired) to continue to play (and hit), and to allow a team to have two first-basemen-only or two catcher-only position players in the lineup at the same time. 

Since then, at least three more even more significant and compelling reasons have emerged that (to me) make the universal DH a no-brainer: 

4. High schools and colleges use the DH universally and so a lot of pitchers coming into pro ball have zero game experience as hitters and baserunners. 

5. Because many pitchers are lousy hitters and baserunners, having to bat and run the bases just adds more risk for a pitcher to get hurt. And with the cost of pitching being what it is today and the risk of injury pitchers take just by pitching and fielding, adding hitting and baserunning to their job requirement just gives valuable high-priced pitchers more opportunities to sustain season-ending or perhaps even career-limiting or career-ending injuries.  

6. At the time the American League implemeted the DH in 1973, the two leagues were separate. The two leagues had different umpires and the home plate umps wore different protective equipment (so A. L. and N. L. umps had a different strike zone), they played with different baseballs, A. L. managers and pitching coaches were permitted no more than two mound vists per game for each pitcher while N. L. managers and pitching coaches were permitted no more than two mound vistis per inning for each pitcher, and each league had it's own CEO (league president). But with the two leagues having been essentially combined into "MLB" and with the advent of interleague play, having two sets of rules pertaining just to the DH rule (and nothing else) makes no sense.  

That said, a couple of changes to the DH rule I would like to see are:

1. The DH is universal but it can be used only so long as the starting pitcher is in the game (this change was proposed last year by Buck Showalter). I like this very much.

But I would add the following...  

Once the starting pitcher leaves the game, the DH must either leave the game and be replaced in the batting order by the relief pitcher - OR - (and this is my proposal) the DH can remain in the game by being moved to a defensive position and then the relief pitcher goes into the slot in the lineup of the player who leaves the game. 

One of the primary criticisms of the DH rule is that it removes an element of strategy from the game (which is true), but my proposal keeps strategy in the game. If you take the starting pitcher out of the game, you lose the extra position player in the lineup (which might be a motive to go with your starting pitcher a bit longer), but not necessarily the player who started the game as the DH. So a manager must decide if keeping the DH in the game at a defensive position is worth what it might cost his team defensively. If his team is behind when the starting pitcher leaves the game, the manager might go for more offense by moving his DH to a defensive position. But if his team is ahead when the starting pitcher leaves the game, he might prefer to sacrifice the DH from the lineup so that a superior defensive lineup can be on the field. 

ACTIVE LIST ROSTER: 

As you know, beginning in 2020 the MLB active list roster limit has been increased from 25 to 26 (with a maximum of 13 pitchers) and then to 28 (maximum of 14 pitchers) beginning on September 1st (and then back to 26 for the post-season). Clubs can add an extra pitcher if a doubleheader is scheduled as the result of a postponed game.   

I think a better rule would be for clubs to have a 40-man maximum "general" active list roster for the entire season, with a specific number of players designated as "active" prior to the start of each series depending on how many games are scheduled to be played in the series.

If it's a two-game series where only two starting pitches would be needed, it would be a 23-man active list roster (11 pitchers max), if it's a three-game series where only three starting pitchers would be needed it would be a 24-man active list roster (12 pitchers max), and if it's a four-game series where four starting pitchers would be needed it would be a 25-man active list roster (13 pitchers max). If a game is postponed during a series and then is made-up later in that series as the second game of a doubleheaer, a club would be permitted to add one additional pitcher for the second game of the doubleheader only. 

The only ways an active list roster can be changed during a series is if a position player or pitcher (but not including a starting pitcher who has already started a game in the series) is injured in a game played during that series or leaves the club prior to completion of the series as the result of a death in the family, a family medical emergency, or child-birth (Paternity Leave), but if an injured pitcher or position player is replaced on the active list roster during a series, the injured player must be placed on the 15-day Injured List (for pitchers) or on the 10-day IL(for position players) prior to the start of the next game. 

Although clubs could carry as many as 40 players on their general active list roster throughout the season, in practice clubs would probably carry only about 30 players, with the other ten players (the ones "not ready for prime Time") optioned to the minors to get regular minor league game reps.

A club would not want to carry a player that it's not going to use much on its active list unless the player is out of minor league options (like Duane Underwood Jr and Casey Sadler are in 2020) or unless the player is signed to a guaranteed contract (like Daniel Descalso). Otherwise, a club would probably much prefer to option a player who is not ready for MLB to the minors so that the player can play at a level that is more-approriate for him and so that the club can pay the player at the minor league "split contract" rate instead of at the MLB rate.  

This approach is similar to what an NFL club does with its roster, designating 46 of its 53 players "active" for each game, with the seven other players inactive. (Because an NFL club might not want to risk losing a young player off waivers, it might decide to keep a given player inactive for all 16 games). If an NFL player suffers a significant injury or illness he can be placed on the Injured Reserve List and then be replaced on the 53 man roster by another player, but if a player sustains a mild injury or illness he can be kept on the 53-man roster and just not be active for a game or two. 

It would work like that in MLB as well. A club can place a player who sustains a significant injury or illness on the 60-day IL and replace him on the 40-man roster with another player, but otherwise most injured players would just not be designated "active" for a given series (inless an injured player is replaced on an active list roster during a series).  

RULE 5 DRAFT:  

A player selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft can be optioned to the minor leagues just like any other player (presuming the player has minor league options available, which most Ruke 5 Draft picks do), but a player selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft cannot be traded, released, outrighted to the minors, or placed on the 60-day IL for one full year after being selected (until after the conclusion of the next Rule 5 Draft). So a club can select a player in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft and option him to the minors, but his slot on the 40-man roster is essentially locked-up for at least one full year. 

MLB SCHEDULE: 

All series would be three game-series. There would be a series every FRI-SAT-SUN, and then either MON-TUE-WED or TUE-WED-THU (depending on the location and road team travel circumstances). So all MLB clubs would get one day off per week. Whenever possible postponed games would be made-up as a day-night doubleheader the next time the clubs play each other. If that's not possible, only then would a club have to play on an off-day. 

MLB POST-SEASON: 

LDS and LCS are three-game series (just like a regular season series) played in the home parks of the teams with the best records. (Just get 'em over with and get to the World Series already!... the World Series is like the Super Bowl or the Kentucky Derby... it's Gold... and the LDS and LCS are most definitely not)). So only the World Series would be a best of seven with games played in the home parks of both teams (with games 1 and 2, and games 6 and 7 if necessary, played in the home park of the team with the best record).   

MINOR LEAGUES:

At least twice as many minor league players (mostly pitchers who are near-MLB ready) would receive an NRI to Spring Training as is the case now, and minor league NRI players would remain with the MLB club throughout Spring Training, until the club leaves town the last week of March. 

Minor League Spring Training (Minor League Camp) would not open until after the conclusion of MLB Spring Training. It would continue with both games and instruction for two months (April-May), and then all minor leagues would begin league play on the Memorial Day weekend, and what are now known as the "short-season leagues" would play through Labor Day only, while what are now known as the "full-season" leagues would continue playing through September (so the "full-season" minor leagues would run for four months instead of five, starting two months later than is now the case but then extending an extra month at the end). This would eliminate minor league games played in marginal weather in April and May and keep the minor league players who are closest to being MLB-ready in game shape in case they need to be called-up in September. 

MLB FIRST-YEAR PLAYER DRAFT: 

The MLB draft is the only of the four major pro sports drafts held during the regular season, so the MLB draft should be moved to the day after the Super Bowl and reduced to 15 rounds. The signing deadline would be the last day of February, and players who sign would make their pro debut at Winter Instructs (to be held for four weeks in March simultaneous with MLB Spring Training) and then over the next two months at Minor League Camp. Almost no high school players would get drafted because most of the ones who graduated the previous June would have probably enrolled in college in September. Otherwise, a player could be drafted only if he has turned 21 by January 1st and/or was not enrolled in school for the previous term (Fall Semester or Fall Quarter). 

Minor League general active list rosters would be 30 (25 max designated "active" prior to the start of each series) but with no short-term Injured List, although an injured or ill player out for an extended period of time could be placed on a minor league club's 60-day IL and not count against the 30-man max general active list roster limit. 

FREE-AGENCY: 

Minor league Rule 55 second-contract free-agent and 6YFA rules would be the same, but an unsigned player on an MLB 40-man roster would be eligible to be an Article XX-B free-agent - REGARDLESS OF MLB SERVICE TIME - after his 11th pro season (for any player who was 16 when he signed his first contract), after his 10th pro season (for any player who was 17, 18, 19, or 20 when he signed his first contract), and after his 9th pro season (for any player who was 21 or older when he signed his first contract). So MLB clubs would be motivated to call-up their most talented prospects ASAP (or at least as soon as they are deemed to be MLB ready) to maximize the number of years of club control at the MLB level, because the more seasons a player spends in the minors, the fewer years he plays in big leagues befoe hitting free-agency. 

+1

Love it! Question - Based on your "Free Agency" section, what would happen to option years? Are they gone? Why did you choose the categories the way you did (i.e. 16 = 11th season, 17-20 = 10th season, 21+ = 9th season)? Would there be any reason not to do 16-17 = 11th season, 18-19 = 10th season, 20+ = 9th season? Thanks Phil - (I'm bored too!)

W-RAT: There would be no change in minor league option years. For example, Duane Underwood Jr would still be out of minor league options in 2020, but the Cubs would be able to keep him on their "general" 40-man roster and maybe designate him as "active" for a series every now & then when one or two of the other relievers are tired or hurting. In the meatime, he can try and stay ready by throwing bullpens and "sim" games.

So it really wouldn't matter that Underwood is out of options in 2020 because the Cubs could just keep him on the 40 (and their "general" MLB active list roster) for the 2020 season and beyond if they wish (unless they need his slot on the 40 for another player), but he would be eligible to be an Article XX-B FA post-2021 (after his 10th season in pro ball) no matter what. It's just that the Cubs might not want to pay Underwood an MLB salary just to mostly wait around for another reliever to get tired or hurt, so he could get non-tendered after the 2020 season. 

Or the Cubs might decide at some point during the 2020 season that they need Dunderwood's 40-man roster slot for another player, so they place him on waivers and try and outright him to the minors. If he isn't claimed and gets outrighted and then is not added back to the 40 after the World Series, he would automaticaly be declared a minor league 6YFA after that season. So he eventually gets to free-agency one way or another (post-2020 if he gets outrighted, or post-2021 if he remains on the 40). 

As for an unsigned player on an MLB 40-man roster qualifying for free-agency after a certain number of pro seasons based upon his age when he signed his first contract, it certainly is possible to group the ages differently (as you suggested, after 11 seasons if the player was 16 or 17 when he signed his first contract, or after 10 seasons if the player was 18 or 19 when he signed his first contract, or after 11 seasons if the player was 20 or older when he signed his first contract).

I based my free-agent qualifying on players 21 or older being mainly college players who would naturally be closer to being MLB ready than younger guys (and quite possibly be ready for "full season" ball directly out of Minor League Camp), and then 17-20 aged players would generally be high school or JC players who would probably need an extra year of development time (probably a year of AZL) before moving up to "full-season" ball than would a player with three or fours years of college experience, and a 16 year old would by definition be an international player who would be even further away when he signs (in most cases probably needing at least one year in the DSL and then one year in the AZL before moving up to "full-season" ball). 

By changing the draft to the first week of February college players with eligibility left would have to be either at least 21 years old by January 1st and/or not enrolled in college for that school year, and players age 21 or older who are enrolled in college would have to sign prior to playing in a game for their college team.

By signing in February instead of in June or July players would get an extra full year of development time than is the case with the current June draft and July signing deadline. Also, players who sign after being drafted in February won't be coming into pro ball off a grueling high school or college season. The player will be fresh and able to fully participate in Winter Instructs in March, then in Minor League Camp April-May, and then be assigned to whatever level is deemed appropriate for him in June, depending on what he shows ar Instructs and Minor League Camp. 

With fewer rounds, only about 15 or so new players will be entering an MLB organization out of the draft each March (there will also likely be a few NDFA -- mostly college seniors -- signed as "organizational depth" after the draft), and colleges will be able to more easily recruit and keep high school players if the draft is in February.

There might be a few high school players who attend a JC, but JC players couldn't be drafted until they turn 21 or don't enroll in a college in the previous fall term (and most JC players have transferred to a four-year college by the time they turn 21). Some high school players (the very best prospects) might skip enrolling in college entirely and just wait for the February draft, and then if the player doesn't get the bonus he wants, maybe play independent pro ball for a year or attend a training academy like IMG, Driveline, or Elite Baseball, or enroll in college (JC or four-year school) at the start of the next school year.  

My goodness Phil, you have had your wheels turning during this stopage. I love your thoughts!

Love your DH idea... I've been on some variation of that for a while. Maybe even allow for the DH to be applied to a position other than Pitcher. Have a decent hitting starting P or Otani (sp?), then you might prefer to have the DH cover for your SS who can't hit a lick. 

First Pitch.120: I think the most legitimate criticism of the DH (and it's the last one I held onto) is that it takes strategy out of the game, so anything that can be done to force a manager to make a difficult decision or decisions with regard to the DH is a positive thing.

Such as...  

1. Sould I keep the SP in the game a bit longer so I can at least use the DH in the next half-inning without weakening my defense?

2. If I take the SP out of the game should I keep the DH in the lineup at a defensive position for offense or take him out for defense? 

3. If I switch the DH to a defensive position, who should he replace in the field and where do I want the pitcher to hit in the batting order? 

These are all decisions that managers do not have to make with the DH rule as it is now. 

So I really believe the DH needs to be tied directly to whether or not the SP remains in the game.  

With regard to a good hitting SP (like Otani), part of the rule would be that the SP can be the DH, and so once the SP who is also the DH leaves the mound he can (as would be the case with any DH) be moved to another defensive position or he can leave the game (manager's choice).  

Expand to 32 teams. Eliminate concept of AL & NL

Split into 4 divisions w/ 8 teams each, assigned mostly by geography.  Divisions are paired off each year in rotation. 

160 game schedule. 16 games vs. 7 division opponents = 112; 6 games (3 home/3 away) x 8 teams in paired division = 48

16 game series vs. division team is split 3/3/3/3 plus 2/2. The 2/2 is done back to back. Putting an off day in the middle also increases the number of home off-days for everybody & decreases the # of random off days hanging around Cincinnati. Geographic proximiity decreases travel a TON & has everybody playing more often in their own timezone. 

First Pitch.120: I think the most-likely locations for future MLB expansion franchises would be Las Vegas (best bet) or Portland (but not both), and then either Montreal, Nashville, or Charlotte (in that order). Mexico City and/or Monterrey would be extreme long-shots but could be possibilities. 

Also, the best future expansion locations could be possible destinations for some of the existing MLB franchises who might be looking to relocate (like maybe Las Vegas for the Diamondbacks or the A's, Portland for the A's, Nashville for the A's, and Montreal for the Rays?),

So how could the MLB 2020 season have been configured using my ideas? 

Well... 

1. Each MLB club plays the other four clubs in its own division 18 times (9 home / 9 road), with one "home & home" played in the first two months of the season, a second "home & home" played in the middle two months of the season, and the remainhng "home & home" played in the last two months of the season. So (for example) the Cubs would play the Cardinals nine times in Chicago (three three-game series) and nine times in St. Louis (also three three-game series), in each case one set of series in March-May, another in June-July, and the last set in August-September   

2. Each MLB club plays the other ten teams in its own league six times (3 home / 3 road). These series are spread out over the course of the season. So for example, the Cubs would play the Dodgers and the Mets twice a year (six games each), one three-game series at home, and one three-game series on the road). 

3. Each of the five clubs in a given MLB division plays the five clubs in one of the divisions in the other league six times (3 home / 3 road). These series are spread out over the course of the season The division played rotates every years over a period of three years (so for example the Cubs would play the White Sox "home & home" only once every three years). 

That's 162 games. 

The season starts for each club with a three game series beginning on either Thursday March 26th or Friday March 27th (with Friday a day off for clubs where a rain-out is possible on THU) and then Saturday & Sunday. 

The next week is the same, keeping a day open during an opening series if necessary until all clubs have had a home opener.   

From that point onward until the All-Star Break, there are two three game series scheduled for each club every week (either MON-TUE-WED or TUE-WED-THU, plus always FRI-SAT-SUN), so one off day scheduled for every club each week and it's always either a Monday or a Thursday. The day off (MON or THU) depends on the location of the series and the travel circumstances for one or both of the clubs involved.   

If games are postponed, whenever possible the make-up game will be scheduled as part of a day-might doubleheader in order to preserve one day off per week for each club. If a make-up day-night doubleheader is not possible, only then would a club have to play a make-up game on a pre-scheduled day off.  

The All-Star Game would always be played on the second Tuesday in July (that's July 14th in 2020, but otherwise July 8-9-10-11-12-13 in other years). There would be a four-game ASB (MON-TUE-WED-THU), but Thursday can be used to make up postponements from pre_ASB that cannot be made-up as part of a day-might doubleheader. By that time anywhere from 87-93 regular season games would have been played (93 in in 2020), minus any make-up games scheduled after the ASB. Then beginning with the three-game FRI-SAT-SUN series following the ASB, the remaining 69 games (in 2020) would be played through Sunday 10/4. 

So the 2020 post-season would start a week later under my schedule than was scheduled by MLB.   

There would be no tie-breaker games. Instead a tie would be broken by comparing head-to-head records of the clubs. If still tied, then by comparing records against common opponents. If still tied, then by comparing records against clubs in own league only. If still tied, then by comparing head-to-head record from previous season, then record against common opponents from previous season, etc.
 
Otherwise, the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season (Monday 10/5 in 2020) would be reserved for any postponed regular season game that has not already been made-up (althouigh if at all possible postponed games will be made-up prior to the pre-scheduled conclusion of the regular season), but ONLY if the results of the Monday make-up game would affect a club qualifying or not qualifying for the post-season.  

So the first post-season series is a three-game Wild Card series (not one WC game) played TUE-WED-THU 10/6 - 10/8 (but THU only if necessary) in the home parks of the teams with the best regular  season W-L records (with tie-breakers appled if necessary).  

Then the three-game LDS (cut back from best of five) runs FRI 10/9 - SUN 10/11 (but SUN only if necessary) in the home parks of the non-WC teams with the best regular season W-L records (with tie-breakers applied if necessary).  

Then the three-game LCS (cut back from best of seven) runs TUE 10/13 - THU 10/15 (but THU only if necessary) in the home parks of the non-WC teams with the best regular season W-L records (with tie-breakers applied if necessary).  

Then the World Series starts on SAT 10/17 and would continue in a traditional 2-3-2 format (SAT-SUN, then MON OFF, then TUE-WED-THU with THU only if necessary, then FRI off, then SAT-SUN if necessary), with the extra home game of the seven (first two and last two) played in the park of the team with best regular season W-L record (but with only head-to-head and common opponent tie-breakers applied if necessary, and not the intra-division or intra-league W-L records that are used to break ties for WC, LDS, and LCS). 

If the 2020 WS goes seven games, the last game would be played on SUN 10/25.   

If a given MLB regular season were to start on THU 3/31 (the latest date the MLB regular season would start if Opening Day is always the last Thursday in March -- which will be 3/31 in 2022), then the absolute latest date a seven game World Series would end (barring postponements) would be SUN 10/30 (in 2022). So no November baseball even if Opening Day is the last day of March.    

So in summary, the changes in my proposed MLB schedule would be one pre-scheduled day off per week for each club during the regular season that would be preserved whenever possible (by playing a day-night DH if make-up games need to be scheduled), eliminating game #163 tie-breaker games, increasing the Wild Card game to a three-game series, and reducing the LDS and LCS to three-game series (anything longer than that delays the start of the World Series, which is MLB's Kentucky Derby or Super Bowl).  

I believe whenever possible MLB games should be presented as part of a three-game series with no more than six games played in a row. The All-Star game is a special one-off single-game mid-season celebratory "breather" surrounded by days off and the World Series has its special 2-3-2 format that should never change, but otherwise, at its most fundamental essence, baseball is a three-game series. As is life (youth/school - adult/career - geezer/retirement). 

glenn beckert has died (79 yo).

the long time cubs 2nd baseman (9 years) in the 60s/70s teamed up with don kessinger at SS for his cubs career...both making a lot of all-star teams.  beckert wasn't supposed to be the long-time cubs "2nd baseman of the future" and he actually might have been traded if not for the death of ken hubbs.

https://twitter.com/CblackCHC/status/1247687583401...

corey black is still being his usual self.  when he's not complaining about being a victim of something he's complaining about how people don't fit into his world view.

i imagine he'll eventually scrub this "hot take" like he does so many of them...and probably blame some mysterious "PC police" for making him do it...and lament how he's being victimized by others who dare to have a counterpoint.

if he actually becomes a player anyone cares about or gets called up to the bigs people are going to have a field day with his social media.  he's scrubbed a good amount of the worst of his takes, but he's still got some "gems" of woe-is-me-self-victimization and just plain ol' human hate out there.

"According to Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic, Major League Baseball might ask players to accept further reductions in pay if games are played this year without fans."

that seems like an even worse way to push this whole season-happening-asap thing unless this is some kind of public negociation push by MLB/owners...

as it is, it's going to be really hard to talk guys into showing up and basically living in a hotel or safe-area for a few months while they cram games in ...just hanging out with themselves.

along with that you're going to need a whole slew of support staff coming in to clean/operate/etc along with the players and if they can't be mostly believed to be safe then the players aren't going to like their sacrifice in comparison.

Are the Ricketts going to go broke over this situation? Give me a break!

"MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said in a statement Monday that negotiations regarding salary adjustment for players "is over."

Clark issued the statement in response to an interview New York governor Andrew Cuomo gave last week when he said he was told by Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon that the union would have to agree to lower salaries if games are played without fans in the stands. The players already agreed to give up 1/162nd of their base pay for each regular season game lost, and it sounds like they have no intention of taking an additional salary cut. It could be a sticking point in negotiations if the league ultimately does decide to play games in empty stadiums."

"Recent articles on the negotiations between MiLB and Major League Baseball (MLB) are largely inaccurate," reads the statement from Minor League Baseball. "There have been no agreements on contraction or any other issues. MiLB looks forward to continuing the good faith negotiations with MLB on Wednesday as we work toward an agreement that best ensures the future of professional baseball throughout the United States and Canada."

the rumor is the cutting of 30-50 teams for those keeping track of this one...

"The Red Sox have been stripped of their second-round pick in the 2020 draft and had their replay operator banned for a year as punishment for illegal use of the replay room during the 2018 regular season."

...no evidence of post-season 2018 or 2019 regular season cheating.  no players/coaches punished (a.cora is only being punished for the astros thing).

I think replay is the problem.  It allows cheating, slows down the game, and turns over plays based on things that don't matter--like contact with the bag throughout the play.  If it has to stay, it should be extremely limited, and called in a few seconds.  The desired outcome is correcting plays when everyone knows the umpire screwed up. 

the fix for the "everyone is video cheating" thing has already been implimeted, but that fix involves putting a delay on the replay so no one can steal signs...which adds a few more seconds to the clubhouse video crew getting their call together to signal to the dugout.

at some point this kind of thing seems like it'll transition to "everyone is doing it, so we might as well automate blah blah blah somehow"...going to the official video replay review on calls that could be automated with sensors or automated video help is probably the future.

What a joke!

I think the way to go is to eliminate the replay room completely, no TV or video of any kind in the clubhouse during the game, a 15 second delay on video transmissions from the bullpen to the dugout monitor, the manager must decide within 15 seconds whether to request a replay review (and so the manager will need to sometimes rely on a player and/or on a coach who was closer to the play to indicate the umpire's call was wrong), and if a player's foot comes off a bag as the result of the force of the slide the runner is not called out unless he overslides the bag or attempts to advance to the next base. 

Remember, the main purposes of the replay review system was to avoid the Galarraga (not) perfect game fiasco by reviewing safe/out calls at 1st base, review disputed home runs (was it fair or foul? / did it clear the wall?), review tag plays at the plate and on the bases (especially at home plate), review catch / trap plays in the outfield, review fair / foul calls on balls hit down the line, review HBP, and check for player or fan interference. It was never supposed to be used to call a runner out just because his foor came off the bag briefly after sliding into a base.  

Also, I believe in cases where a player's uniform (but not the player's body) or the player's body armor but otherwise no part of the player's body below the neck (like an elbow guard or shin guard) is struck by a pitch, the play is immediately ruled dead but it's not a HBP and the batter does not automatically take 1st base (unless it was ball four). 

I also like the idea of a "robo-umpire" for ball / strike calls only because I hate it when players complain and (especially) when announcers whine incessantly about missed ball / strike calls. 

Replay should also be rare, like once in 20 games, and you keep the option if the play is overturned. 

LOL, That's the best argument for robo-umpire.  Arguing balls and strikes would certain disappear if there was no one to argue with!

trey mancini (BAL) has stage 3 colon cancer.  if there's a 2020 season, he probably won't be part of it.

https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/i...

little league world series (late august) called off for 2020...regional tourneys, too.

"Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that early July "remains MLB’s target for a season."

Heyman says that spring training 2.0 "would likely be three weeks," plus an additional two weeks for those who wish to report early. With a minor league season looking unlikely, rosters "are expected to be expanded" and may also include a taxi squad. While optimism that there will be a 2020 season starting up at some point seems to be increasing, this is all still very much up in the air at this point. MLB is still evaluating a number of different scenarios and has to get the MLBPA to sign on, as well."

I've already brainstormed with a co-worker....season opens on Fri July 3.  MLB will ask one pair of teams on the east coast to start at 10AM each day and one pair of teams on the west coast to delay playing til 10PM local time.  ESPN broadcasts six games each day (10A, 1P, 4P, 7P, 10P, 1A east coast time) each of Fri-Sat-Sun.  Breakfast baseball on the west coast, first game start 7A there.  Be like the opening Thurs and Fri of March Madness.

step 1 - make you and your friend co-commish

step 2 - i find a way to injure myself at work to get at least 3 months of worker's comp

you guys become commish and i'll figure out what's a good temporary injury lab chemical to pour on myself.

seriously, though...that would be a hell of a fun 3 months to watch.

i wonder what the plan is if someone gets diagnosed.  technically, this is a contact game.  also, are they gonna keep the entire team and support staff (and stadium staff) on some weird months-long lockdown?  etc etc...

"Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes that MLB's preferred plan would be to start in late June or early July with as many teams as possible playing in their home parks while also competing in their normal divisions.

The season would consist of an abbreviated schedule of at least 80 games. There was a report earlier this week from Bob Nightengale of USA Today which included three divisions of 10 teams each separated by region, so it's interesting to see normal divisions coming back into play as a possibility."

...also, the umpire compensation issue has been settled for the rest of the season for both playing/non-playing scenerios.  so that's one less thing to "hammer out."

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  • crunch 21 hours 58 min ago (view)

    Chicago Cubs Thumbs Up GIF by NBC Sports Chicago

     

  • Alexander Dimm 22 hours 23 min ago (view)

    I'm in.  What more do we need, really.  A beer.  A game or two.  The 162 game season can wait until next year (I hope).  Have fun with a micro-mini season.  Let the powers fight over the labor agreements.  They can finish by next spring, right?

     

  • crunch 22 hours 35 min ago (view)

    2020 quickly shaping up to be the best season ever.

     

  • Cubster 23 hours 55 min ago (view)

    And a few kegs of beer. Hamberders too.

     

  • crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    they should just play a quick weekend tourney where no one actually wins and everyone gets a small participation trophy.

    declare the fans the MVPs and dedicate the series to everyone who has died in the history of humanity.

    ...then a free live-streamed Nickleback concert hosted by 2Pac's hologram

     

  • Charlie 2 days 7 hours ago (view)

    Lol at worrying about a second wave disrupting revenue.

     

  • Cubster 2 days 10 hours ago (view)

    IN BRIEF (Tribune, from their mini-sports section):    In a letter, MLB rejects players’ plan for 114 gamesNews services Major League Baseball rejected the players’ proposal for a 114-game schedule in the pandemic-delayed season with no additional salary cuts, telling the union that teams have no reason to think 82 games is possible and now will discuss even fewer.Players made their proposal Sunday, five days after management’s initial economic plan.

     

  • Cubster 2 days 10 hours ago (view)

    Pete Ricketts causing some backspin on their serve...Chi Tribune, Thursday AM:

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 days 19 hours ago (view)

    Here are the last two Cubs minor league releases from this week (for a final total of 30): 

    Conor Lillis-White, LHP (acquired frrom LAA for Tommy LaStella post-2018 - missed 2019 season with hip flexor injury)

    Alberto Mineo, C-1B (has been quarantined in Italy since he re-signed with Cubs in February) 

    Lillis-White was eligible for selection in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, and Mineo was eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2020 

     

  • Charlie 2 days 20 hours ago (view)

    Great read from players I came of age watching. Really shows how badly MLB needs to empower their players to speak in real time and not just after retiring.

     

  • crunch 2 days 21 hours ago (view)

    "A conversation: Retired African American MLB players on race, baseball, America"

    https://theathletic.com/1849574/2020/06/02/a-conve...

    d.glanville, j.rollins, r.howard, d.willis, t.hunter, l.hawkins

    unlocked/free article.

     

  • Jackstraw 2 days 23 hours ago (view)

    I'm trying to come up with scenarios where saying "The problem I have with you people....." really helps the conversation move forward constructively.  None really jump to mind.

     

  • crunch 2 days 23 hours ago (view)

    i still want proof that tom ricketts and ted cruz aren't the same person

     

  • Cubster 3 days 1 hour ago (view)

    Tom's older brother is an ass, even with an embarrassing apology.

    Here is the twitter video from Pastor Jarrod Parker: 

    https://twitter.com/nowthisnews/status/12678894685...

     

  • Cubster 3 days 9 hours ago (view)

    I agree.  Laura is the real deal. I think she was the major influence that showed Tom R. and Crane Kenney how to show a "human side" and deal realistically and in a non-threatening way, with the local Chicago politicians. Kenney was clearly clueless in his initial attempts regarding the neighborhood, the Rooftop owners, and the Wrigley Field rebuild. 

     

  • Hagsag 3 days 10 hours ago (view)

    I am a Laura Ricketts fan. To hell with the rest of them.