Why canceled 2020 MLB season would hurt Dodgers much more than Giants

Why canceled 2020 MLB season would hurt Dodgers much more than Giants

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.

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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.

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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.

Giants scout compared Mark McGwire to better Dave Kingman as prospect

Giants scout compared Mark McGwire to better Dave Kingman as prospect

It was clear when watching Mark McGwire at USC that he was set for stardom in the big leagues. McGwire was an eighth-round pick in high school but then dominated for the Trojans. 

When Giants scout George Genovese saw McGwire play in March of 1984, he was blown away.

"This boy has outstanding power," Genovese wrote in his official scouting report. "... I feel he will be a good power hitter as he makes good contact and hits to all field with power. He is a tough out at the plate and it takes a good curve ball or excellent pitch to get him out." 

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As's Matt Kelly notes, Genovese even saw a better version of a former No. 1 overall pick -- Dave Kingman -- in a young McGwire.

"As much power and better contact at the plate than Dave Kingman," Genovese wrote.

McGwire wound up hitting .387 with 32 home runs, 20 doubles and 80 RBI at USC in 1984. And the Giants had a chance to select McGwire with the No. 9 pick in the '84 MLB Draft. Instead, they took outfielder Alan Cockrell, who had nine at-bats in his MLB career and never played for San Francisco.

[RELATED: Why Baer believes 2020 MLB Draft requires 'better scouting']

The A's grabbed McGwire one pick later at No. 10 overall, and he became an instant star. The powerful first baseman hit a then-rookie record 49 homers for the A's in 1987 on his way to winning AL Rookie of the Year. 

McGwire finished his career with 583 long balls. Kingman, who started his career with the Giants and ended it with the A's, hit 442. And Cockrell had two career hits ... none went over the fence.

Giants coaches believe players can get ready for shortened MLB season

Giants coaches believe players can get ready for shortened MLB season

For a few weeks now players have been eyeing the first week of July, hopeful that Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association find a compromise that gets the game back on the field sometime around the time fireworks are scheduled to go off.

But every day that passes without a deal is one less day for the staff to potentially get players ready. At some point, that might lead to tension as teams look at the calendar, but for now the Giants still believe they have plenty of time to prepare for a shortened season. 

On last week's "Chalk Talk at Home," pitching coach Andrew Bailey and hitting coach Donnie Ecker said they're confident that Spring Training 2.0 can get their players ready in about three weeks. 

"I think it depends on where these guys are coming in," Bailey said. "I think we can do it in the three-week timespan. We may not be seeing a full workload, 100 pitches or whatever you see. I think that we still have to do some buildup there, but we can definitely get guys ready in that timeframe and be a little bit cautious with back-to-backs and different things and monitor (them). Ideally, the longer the better, for sure, on the pitching side of things."

Ecker said the hitting coaches -- himself, Justin Viele and Dustin Lind -- are looking at a similar timeframe, although they do have more wiggle room. 

"I think we need a lot less time from a physiological standpoint than pitchers do," he said. "The three week (schedule) is kind of a sweet spot for us to get enough live at-bats in."

While it takes some work to get your timing down, the Giants should have more than enough time to get their lineup ready. Buster Posey has often gone into a season with just a couple dozen at-bats under his belt, and the veteran-filled lineup is full of players who won't need much more than that if they're able to play games in their second spring. Pitching machines are so advanced these days that players are able to take unlimited hacks against machine-thrown breaking balls or 100 mph fastballs. Many of the team's veterans have posted clips on Instagram where they're hitting off machines at home. 

It's a bit more complicated for pitchers, but Bailey said he is starting to get calls from players who live in areas that have opened up to the point that you can throw live BP sessions and simulated games against hitters. The analytics staff put together a questionnaire that allows the Giants to track and log throwing programs on a daily basis. 

[RELATED: How would Giants feel playing in front of no fans?]

Bailey is leaning on over-communicating, and the message from the staff has been to over-prepare if possible. Ideally, the Giants would like their pitchers to come in more stretched out than they normally would, giving them flexibility when games start. 

"We'll just get creative with our staff, our usage and make sure that their workloads are okay and healthy," Bailey said. "I think obviously winning is at the forefront of everybody's mind, but keeping our players healthy for 2020 is a priority of ours as well."

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