Giants fans want to watch their favorite team play baseball. This indefinite pause of the MLB season is no fun for anyone.
The league remains hopeful that some form of a 2020 season can take place, but there are numerous large hurdles to clear before getting to that point. In the event the 2020 season is ultimately canceled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, certain teams and players are going be disproportionally affected compared to others.
As part of the agreement between MLB and the Players Association last month, if the 2020 season is canceled, all players will receive the service time equal to what they accrued in 2019. So, players that received a season's worth of service time in 2019 would do so again. That's a big deal, as it will keep those players on track to hit free agency as expected.
On the flip side, players that didn't qualify for a season of service time will miss out on it again in 2020. That's going to be particularly painful for players who got a cup of coffee in the majors last season, but expected to spend all of 2020 with the big club.
In both situations, the Giants appear to be set up much better than most other MLB teams. Jeff Samardzija is the only thing close to a big name that would hit free agency after a canceled 2020 season. And some of San Francisco's younger players would be delayed from hitting free agency for another year.
Meanwhile, one could argue that no team would be more adversely affected by a canceled 2020 season than the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.
Forget the fact that they're considered heavy favorites to come out of the NL. The Dodgers made the blockbuster move of the offseason, acquiring outfielder Mookie Betts, pitcher David Price and $44 million in cash from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for prospects Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs and Connor Wong. Many pundits argued that trade was heavily tilted in Los Angeles' favor, but if the 2020 season is canceled, that would revert like a seesaw.
Betts is entering the final year of his contract. If the season is canceled, he goes directly to free agency without ever playing a game in a Dodgers uniform. Additionally, Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors reported Tuesday that Los Angeles would miss out on at least $16 million of the original $48 million included in the trade, since the Red Sox would no longer be required to pay the canceled season's portion.
Making matters worse for the Dodgers, they would still lose the players they gave up in the trade, as Verdugo, Downs and Wong would remain with Boston. On top of that, they would lose a crucial year of control on reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger, among others. Yes, they'd essentially gain an extra year of control on some of their top prospects, but in total, you can be sure that's not a tradeoff Los Angeles would find palatable.
If the 2020 season is canceled, the Dodgers can still make Betts a qualifying offer heading into free agency. But, he'll be able to negotiate with every team in the league, and even if his salary demands are somewhat diminished by the lack of revenue resulting from a canceled season, that wouldn't necessarily play into Los Angeles' hands.
In fact, given some of the revenue-generating projects the Giants currently have in the works, San Francisco could potentially be an even bigger player in the 2020 free-agent market than originally expected.
Imagine the Giants opening the long-awaited 2021 season against the Dodgers at Oracle Park. Only instead of Betts playing against them, he's playing for them -- against the rival who he indirectly weakened.
We all have our fingers crossed that some form of a 2020 season takes place. But depending on how you look at it, it might not be the worst thing for the Giants.
Certainly not as bad as it would be for the Dodgers.