Now the Padres season has a start date, here are three things to keep track of when the season officially kicks off.
Normally, a full baseball schedule allows for a team to endure the inevitable slumps that come with a 162-game slate. However, with just 60 games in 2020, it’s going to be a sprint to the finish line with no room for error. And for a young, talented team like the Padres, there can’t be any sophomore slumps from Fernando Tatis Jr. or Chris Paddack, nor can they afford to have regression years from other key contributors.
The coronavirus that temporarily shut down the start to the MLB season – and still could end up having a major factor in the year – has affected all baseball clubs in several ways. From the front office to the minors, there have been pay reductions, players released, and/or members that have tested positive.
And in the background of all of this were MLB owners and the MLBPA exchanging numerous return-to-play proposals, all deemed non-starters. The most recent exchange involved the owners setting the season at 60 games with full prorated salaries; however, the players requested that the season be extended to 70 games.
Finally, it was left in MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s hands to determine the fate of the 2020 season. Play on and take the risks that come with an abbreviated season or try this again next year. However, a strong argument can be made that if a season were canceled entirely, it would have a more damaging impact on the CBA negotiations that will come after the 2021 season.
But for now, the Padres will play within their division 40 times, with the remaining 20 games coming against AL West opponents. And while we wait for MLB to officially set the schedule, here are a few things to keep a close eye on when the season begins.