How the Red Sox can benefit from no 2020 regular season.
The 2020 MLB season is now being considered questionable after commissioner Rob Manfred called for all Spring Training facilities to be temporarily closed down and thoroughly cleaned after COVID-19 cases in Florida and Arizona spiked. It is now not only a question of whether or not the MLBPA and the MLB owners can agree on a deal, but whether it is even safe to play baseball anytime soon.
This all comes after the executive director of the MLBPA Tony Clark and Manfred met face-to-face in a “productive meeting”. It appeared that both sides were getting closer to an agreement despite minor disagreements over the amount of games being played.
It appears that there is still a chance that there will be zero Red Sox games played at Fenway Park in 2020, for the first time since before the ballpark opened in 1912.
With the 2020 season possibly not happening, there are a few takeaways that prove that Red Sox Nation is still benefiting without baseball being played.
First of all, Alex Cora has only been suspended for one season due to his contributions with the Houston Astros in their sign stealing scheme. No matter if there is a season or not, Cora will have served his suspension and would be available to come back as manager for the 2021 season. This gives the Red Sox a tough decision on who they see as their future manager.
Just a few months ago, the Red Sox removed the interim tag from Ron Roenicke’s role with the team. However, if there is no season, it makes it so much easier to just rehire Cora. It’s like he never left. It’s also important to note that Roenicke’s contract is up after the 2020 season. If the Red Sox finalized their plans to have Roenicke be their future manager, they probably would have given him an extension.
Another reason why the Red Sox would benefit from no regular season baseball being played in 2020 is that Chris Sale might not miss any time.
After a bout with pneumonia and issues with his elbow, it was ultimately decided that Sale would undergo Tommy John surgery with the 2020 season being put on hold. He successfully underwent surgery on March 30 after flying to Los Angeles to get it done. According to a conference call with the media in April, Sale noted that he was feeling good and felt as if he was gifted a new elbow.
With no regular season, the Red Sox would not have to fill Sale’s role in the rotation yet. Sale may need extra time to recover in 2021, but now the Red Sox wouldn’t have to worry about whether or not Ryan Weber and Brian Johnson could eat up innings from an opener role.
The Red Sox are therefore primed to go into the 2021 season stronger than they would have with a full 2020 baseball season. Not only because of Sale being available, but the Red Sox don’t have many notable players hitting the free agency market.
JD Martinez is in an interesting spot, as he has opt-outs available after the 2020 and 2021 seasons. He also had one concluding the 2019 season, but decided to opt in and stay in Boston. With no baseball season, Martinez will most likely opt in as it is extremely unlikely that he would be able to reach an agreement to make more money than he would be getting with the Red Sox.
The other Red Sox players that will hit the free agency market include Jackie Bradley Jr., Kevin Pillar, and Brandon Workman. Martin Perez and Mitch Moreland have club options and buyouts available as well. Don’t forget, Rusney Castillo is also a free agent after the 2020 season. Therefore, he will no longer rot in the Red Sox minor league system.
At most, the Red Sox would have to replace their closer in Workman which can be done without having to sign someone outside of the organization. If Moreland’s contract was bought out, either Michael Chavis could be moved to first or he could stay at second and Bobby Dalbec can replace him. If Perez was bought out, he could be replaced by Jon Lester, which Lester claimed he wouldn’t be opposed to coming back.
Boston would also have to replace two outfielders if neither Bradley Jr. nor Pillar return. Jarren Duran is one candidate.
The Red Sox can benefit greatly from the Red Sox-Dodgers trade with no baseball being played. There is a chance that Mookie Betts does not even play one regular season game in an LA Dodgers uniform. If that is the case, the Dodgers only get the value of David Price for two years while the Red Sox get Alex Verdugo for four years, Jeter Downs for three years, and Connor Wong for three years.
If both teams receive the value for these players, the Red Sox would look like the clear winner of this trade. They get Downs who is currently ranked the 44th best prospect in all of baseball. They also get a solid catcher prospect in Wong who can play shortstop and third base as well. The Red Sox also get a major league-ready outfielder in Verdugo.
The Dodgers would only receive the value of Price for two seasons if Betts sings elsewhere with no 2020 season. Sure, Price is a proven starter who played very well in 2018, but he turns 35 years old in August. After a shaky 2019 season, who knows if Price will be able to return to his Cy Young Award contender-self.
Basically, the Red Sox are still in a good place without a 2020 season. With an Alex Cora reunion still not out of the question for 2021, there is potentially a lot to look forward to for Red Sox fans in the upcoming months. In no ways should we be rooting for no baseball in 2020, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if the sides can’t strike a deal.