Yankees: Three changes MLB should consider making if the season is shortened
By Scott Roche
After Major League Baseball shut down Spring Training March 13 amid the coronavirus pandemic, there is no telling when the Yankees or any other team will return to the field again.
MLB sent a memo to each team telling them to cease all workouts and close down their facilities. The Yankees have even had two minor leaguers test positive for the virus in the last week. They’re the only known confirmed cases from any team so far.
When and if Major League Baseball is able to begin the long road back to playing games, there will almost certainly be a shortened season. How shortened of a season it will be, nobody knows. Each team will need an extended Spring Training for their hitters to get their timing back and pitchers will need to build-up their arms again. With that said, here are three things that MLB should consider implementing if the 2020 season is given the green light to begin.
1. Expand Rosters
Major League Baseball expanded rosters this coming season from 25 to 26 players. Spring Training was five weeks old when commissioner Rob Manfred shut down operations. The calendar was still two weeks away from Opening Day so players were not quite ready for the season to begin.
Manfred should consider expanding the rosters to 29 or 30 to protect the pitcher’s arms. A lot of pitchers won’t be able to go very deep into games early on and that could tax bullpens. Generally speaking each year, pitchers tend to be ahead of the hitters in the early part of the season, but expanding rosters will help protect the pitchers’ arms.
2. No Doubleheaders
There is no doubt that Manfred will consider many avenues when it comes down to playing a shorter schedule. One thing that has to be avoided is doubleheaders, either split or traditional. It’s baseball and you know when and if the season does start, there are going to be rainouts.
There will be opportunities to play doubleheaders, but don’t schedule them. The players association will make sure there are sufficient amount of off days, so anything that is postponed due to weather will be most likely made up as doubleheader. No matter the number of games that MLB decides to play, no doubleheaders should be scheduled prior to the start of the season.
3. No Interleague Games
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For the love of the game, please, no interleague games. There are way too many in a regular 162 game season, to begin with. With a condensed season on the horizon, there is no need to see American League pitchers hitting and running the bases in a National League ballpark and risking injury.
It is an advantage for an NL team going to an AL ballpark for the simple fact that their pitchers don’t need to hit and they get to use the DH. Either make the DH universal or get rid of the interleague games. I know that means no Mets/Yankees games at Citi Field, but so be it.
MLB somehow needs to find a way to keep the games within each league, even if that means playing all division games. Have the Yankees play each AL team twice, home and away, then their division games. Do we really need to see the Yankees play games at Citi Field and have to worry about a pitcher hitting, then having to run the bases and risk injury? Not with the way injuries happen to the Yanks in the last two years. Something negative is bound to happen.
Staying healthy and surviving coronavirus is the number one priority for everybody right now. Baseball is an afterthought. When the time comes to play games, some slight adjustments to the season could benefit everybody.