We’re getting closer to playing baseball again. Sure seems that way, anyway. After weeks of starts and stops and bickering between Major League Baseball and the Players Association, the league stated Wednesday that progress toward a deal to restart the 2020 season had been made.
They aren’t playing the standard 162 games, nor any number close to that. That’s impossible after the game hit pause due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The prolonged grind typically separates the truly talented from the pack, provided they can stay healthy. A shorter season, which could reportedly end up somewhere between 60-70 games.
That’s a sprint, not a marathon, a phrase you’ll hear ad nauseum once a pact to restart baseball has been made.
A’s general manager David Forst is confident a team ranked among the American League favorites will remain that way regardless of the season format.
He discussed that fact in an interview on A’s Cast with Chris Townsend on Wednesday afternoon.
“I don’t know what it’s going to be like,” Forst said. “We have talked a little bit about it, and we’re trying to take a wait-and-see approach. The nicest thing for us is that we kind of know what our roster looks like. At the point we were at in spring training, we had a pretty good idea -- looking at a 26-man roster, we kind of had 30 guys for those 26 spots. It sounds like we’re going to start the season with 30, so we almost know exactly what our roster looks like given everybody’s health.
“And then you have the luxury of having that second group that it sounds like we’re going to get to host somewhere outside of Oakland. I think there are going to be a lot of moving parts here but, at the end of the day, a good team is a good team no matter where they’re playing and no matter how many games the season is.”
While nothing is set in stone, teams could end up having a taxi squad to replenish the roster as needed in a compacted schedule and no minor-league baseball being played. That could be required with an injury or if someone needs to go on the injured list.
There are a lot of unknowns, as Forst said, to be worked out and the revealed in a final agreement for 2020. That should include an expanded playoff field, which the A’s should be in with a full series to compete over the one-game playoffs that have plagued them in recent seasons.
The A’s are still loaded in the rotation and the everyday lineup and, like most teams, are itching to play.
“We liked our team coming into 2020,” Forst said, “and there’s no reason not to like it no matter what the structure is going forward.”