MLB News and Notes: Some Players Want Fewer Restrictions

It’s been more than a week since the owners started to pitch their plan to the players for the 2020 MLB season. Progress has been slow, but the two sides are trying to hammer out the details. Let’s check in with the latest news from around the league.

Not So Tight

Part of the proposal from the owners involves restrictions designed to help limit the potential spread of the coronavirus. However, some players have spoken out about the health protocols going a little too far.

Players don’t necessarily like that using showers and other facilities at stadiums will be prohibited. They also want to be able to use cryotherapy chambers, hydrotherapy pools, and other clubhouse features that help them to recover and prepare to play.

The Players Association could try to ease these restrictions during negotiations with the owners.

Meanwhile, some players have expressed concern with the restrictions on players during road trips. MLB’s plan would limit the freedom of movement players have outside of the ballpark and the team hotel, which may not be feasible.

Some players believe that if there is regular testing, some of MLB’s proposed protocols can be eased. However, health officials mention that testing is far from perfect, meaning players must continue to be careful and be willing to make sacrifices.

Virtual Celebration

In a true sign of the times, the Washington Nationals will have a virtual celebration when they unveil their 2019 World Series rings. The event will be Sunday night and be streamed on the team’s website and social media channels.

Previously, the Nationals were holding out hope of a live ceremony, but with a timeline for fans returning to stadiums, it was difficult to hold out for that to become a realistic possibility.

One More Thing

The delay in the season has hindered the plans of pitcher Felix Hernandez. The longtime Seattle Mariners ace signed a minor-league deal with the Braves and was competing for a spot in Atlanta’s rotation before spring training was suspended.

The 34-year-old had a nightmarish 2019 season but said he’d like to keep pitching until he reaches 200 wins and 3,000 strikeouts. If he can reach those milestones, he says he’ll be happy to call it a day.

Right now, Hernandez sits on 169 wins and 2,524 strikeouts. That’s at least a few seasons worth of work for Hernandez, and the shorted season isn’t helping.

A Little Late

One team is already starting to feel the financial effects of the 2020 season being delayed. The Oakland A’s have reportedly missed their $1.2 million annual rent payment to Ring Central Coliseum.

Obviously, the A’s haven’t used the stadium or been able to generate any revenue, leading to the missed payment. The team informed the Coliseum that they would defer payment until they have more information about when the season will start.

Henry Gardner, the current head of the Coliseum Authority, understands the unusual situation the A’s have been put in during the pandemic. He told a local news outlet: “Maybe there are some things we are willing to negotiate and waive, but we can’t just say no rent.”

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