Major League Baseball (MLB) has officially unveiled its 2020 campaign plans with the competition set to begin on 23 July under a proposed 60-game regular season schedule.
The decision was reached earlier in the week following a unanimous vote by its 30 clubs under the terms of the 26 March agreement struck by MLB and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA).
Following this, the players association then tweeted that ‘all remaining issues have been resolved and players are reporting to training camps’. It is understood that players will report for training for the 2020 season on 1 July.
As part of the agreement players will be paid their full salary in proportion to the reduced 2020 campaign, a usual regular-season consists of 162 fixtures. Meaning that players will approximately receive 37 per cent of their expected 2020 wages for the full season.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred stated: “Major League Baseball is thrilled to announce that the 2020 season is on the horizon. We have provided the Players Association with a schedule to play 60 games and are excited to provide our great fans with baseball again soon.”
The proposed 60-game season has been submitted for review by the Players Association, however, there isn’t expected to be any hurdles with regards to agreeing on the terms. The new schedule will attempt to mitigate the risk of travel by including 10 games for each team against its four divisional opponents. MLB club’s will also play 20 games against the opposite league’s corresponding division.
In order to mitigate the risk of COVID-19, players will undergo testing upon arrival to training, with athletes, coaches and support staff also set to be tested for the virus every other day during training camps, the regular season and postseason.
Additionally, new rules have been proposed in order to accommodate the new campaign. These include opening the season with a 30-man roster before reducing it to 26 after four weeks, the Trade Deadline moving to 31 August, a 10-day injured list (IL) for both pitchers and hitters, with the 60-day IL being reduced to 45-days, and the introduction of a IL for coronavirus cases among other new rules.
As a result of the announcement the MLB joins the likes of the MLS in announcing its return, meanwhile the NHL is still in its planning preparations as to when to resume its season.