At long last, it appears the Orioles will play baseball in 2020.
The only question now, is how?
According to multiple reports, Major League Baseball will set a schedule for the 2020 season that will be 60 games long. The season will start the weekend of July 24 with a “spring” training opening on July 1.
While there aren’t a ton of specifics that have been released as to what the shortened season could look like, it’s easy to imagine the season going either very well or very poorly for the Orioles. And depending on your point of view, that could mean a lot of different things.
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, they’ll avoid whatever draft lottery MLB could have put in place for the 2021 season. While nothing had leaked about what the draft could look like next summer, there won’t be any worry as to what the order would be next summer with a completed season.
Now, the order will get decided on the field like it does each season. And for a team that’s not projected to do very much, 162-game season or otherwise, that’s welcome news. The Orioles will now be able to “earn” their likely early first-round pick in next summer’s draft.
Alright boys and girls we’ve got 60 games to lose let’s goooo #HitRockerBottom— Orioles Fan Problems (@OriolesFanProbz) June 23, 2020
As for the most important part of the Orioles farm system, players drafted in the 2019 or 2020 drafts will almost certainly not see the field this summer. Still, it could give a 60-game glimpse into the outlook of Ryan Mountcastle, Austin Hays and a few other prospects looking to make their name in the major leagues.
With no big-time free agents set to hit the free agent market this winter either, the Orioles won’t be impacted by a limited amount of funds available for the major league team.
Still, Baltimore doesn’t have much major league ready talent at its disposal in the minor leagues, so if rosters are expanded or injuries and sickness take over the team, it will be apparent who the Orioles have that could make an impact at the major league level quickly.
In that regard, a shortened season could be a benefit to the Orioles as expanded rosters could give the team an extended look at some talent in preparation for the 2021 season. Of course, the team’s current roster doesn’t account for the players, if any, that will sit out the summer out of precaution.
But no matter who plays on the field for the Orioles, the outlook of the franchise likely isn’t going to change much, if at all, in the next few months — no matter what happens on the field.
The Orioles still aren’t going to be very talented compared to other major league clubs, and now with a shot to get some young players at least two months on the field, they’ll take every opportunity to try and get those players experience before the season concludes.
Baltimore was 19-41 after 60 games in 2019, which would put the team at the bottom of the league standings once again. In a weird way, a winning streak that puts the Orioles near 25 wins could actually end up hurting the team in the long-term.
While it might be fun to see the Orioles play competitive baseball for a few weeks, the franchise would be better served with another year of subpar baseball.
And for the Orioles, that’s still the aim of the franchise in 2020.
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