10/30/2020 : News and Notes
Phillies President Andy MacPhail will hold a press conference today at 3 PM via Zoom with established members of the media. That will likely include some bloggers, just not this one. Is what it is. The subject matter hasn’t been announced but it’s probable that it will touch upon impending team “retirements” ( the club offered multiple severance enhancements and there are a few folks that I’m aware of who’ve accepted ), the status of the GM search, budget plans for 2021, coaching staff openings, free agency, etc. That’s a lot of stuff to fit into about 30 minutes or so 😳.
Rumblings are that 2021 spring training could be a lot different depending on the status of the pandemic and availability of a possible vaccine. There are reportedly contingency plans to stagger camp invitations with major leaguers and likely Triple A players reporting first followed by Double A and lower level designees after the first group leaves in late March. This would also delay the season openings of the lower level teams and either truncate their schedules or extend their seasons into September. An extended season is more feasible now since MLB has already decided that September roster expansions and call ups will be drastically reduced. How this would effect the Spring Training fan experiences and game attendance is yet to be seen but it’s likely if this scenario plays out that at a minimum ticket and complex access limitations would be put in place. We won’t know till we know eh 🤷♂️.
Word is that MLB is closing in on finalizing the new PDA ( Player Development Agreement ) with Minor League Baseball. It’s a foregone conclusion that MLB will take over governance of the minor leagues and that a contraction down to 120 teams will take place. It’s also a given that some leagues will transition to amateur level wood bat designations as scouting ( for those scouts who remain ) and data/video collection venues for rising players. It seems very likely that the Florida State League (FSL) changes its designation from Advanced A to A and that the advanced A designation goes to a league or leagues more regionally located to most of the big league clubs that have FSL affiliates. This is a strategic move since the FSL locations are all aligned with team training complexes ... by having the lowest rung of full season play attached to complex training areas where the GCL ( Gulf Coast League ) and XST ( Extended Spring Training ) play it’s less costly and more convenient to advance players up to the next rung in the ladder when needed/ready. It would also allow the usually younger players in the newly designated low level FSL teams access to training complexes for daily development. I’d really expect this to happen ... but again ... we will see.
There are already a few 40 man roster players in Clearwater getting early starts on the 2021 season. Alec Bohm is a baseball gym rat and seemingly never stops working at his trade ... the young fella loves the game. Rafael Marchan is another young player who seemingly constantly works to get better ... he will be ready for opportunities afforded him.
Lastly tomorrow is the final day of 2020 Fall Instructs. It will conclude with a game against the Jays, no fan attendance as has been the case since camp started. The group has worked in a bubble and I’m sure they are anxious to break camp and get into their off season routines. Since the 2020 season was a washout many players have applied for winter league assignments ... they are at a premium. I know a few, but as is my norm I will not announce any till the Winter League teams do so themselves. Once those rosters are made public I will share what they’ve announced.
I will not be attending the final Fall Instructs game tomorrow ( we usually watch from beyond the outfield fences ) ... like many folks our life has been drastically altered the last nine months , we used to eat out at least five times a week before the pandemic ... we haven’t been out to a restaurant since March nor much of anywhere for that matter. We only occasionally have visited out daughter. Sure hope things change in the coming months but to be honest I’m not sure we ( my wife and I ) will ever escape our “new normal”. While thankfully we have not gotten physically ill from the virus we have indeed been “illness impacted”. Researching Baseball things and writing my articles like this one that in reality not many folks actually read are my outlet ... even that often makes little sense to do. Hopefully it gets better ... just sayin 🤦♂️
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️