A guide to MLB's 82-game season: What to know about the schedule, rosters & expanded playoff field for 2020

Sporting News

The owners of the 30 MLB teams held a virtual meeting Monday and agreed to a proposal for the restart of the 2020 season. Commissioner Rob Manfred is presenting that proposal to the players Tuesday.

That’s the good news. The bad news is this: It’s a long journey from proposal to playing, largely because so many things that have to happen are out of MLB’s hands.

MORE: MLB owners, players can't afford to let money screw this up

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We’ll keep you updated as reports surface about the Tuesday meeting, but for now here’s a look at details included in the proposal, with reporting from The Athletic, ESPN, USA Today and the New York Post.

When would the MLB season start in 2020?

  • Start date: Early July (possibly July 4th weekend)

  • End date: Early October (assuming a July 4 start and roughly six games a week per team, that’s about 13 weeks of games, and that stretches the season into the first week of October.)

How will the 2020 MLB schedule work?

Geography will reportedly be the defining feature of this proposal. From USA Today:

According to the two people, the traditional two-league- six-division structure will remain, but teams will only play opponents in their division and the corresponding geographical division from the other league. So a team such as the New York Yankees would play only against their AL East opponents and the NL East, while a team like the Los Angeles Dodgers, who weren’t scheduled to play the Houston Astros, now would play them at least six times.

ESPN noted that teams could even travel by bus when possible.

MLB spring training 2.0

Teams would reportedly have their choice of spring training 2.0 sites, either at their actual spring training ballpark or at their home ballparks. There would likely be no games between different franchises (ESPN reports), only intra-squad games featuring the players in camp, the ones who are likely to make the expanded roster/taxi squads.

How many teams will make the MLB postseason?

The latest number is 14 under the reported proposal. That's up from 10. The primary idea is this: More playoff games means more revenue from broadcast partners. In a season when it's not known when or if fans will be allowed in the ballparks, any new source of revenue is a good source.

If the current league alignments are kept, as is reportedly the preference, there would be two extra wild-card teams per league. How they’re introduced to the mix, and what the playoff format would look like, is not known.

Universal designated hitter, other MLB roster changes

All reports indicate there would be a DH for all teams, in both leagues. Rosters will reportedly be expanded to 30 available players per game — the number was already going to be bumped up from 25 to 26 for 2020 — and there will be a taxi squad available, giving the teams a total number of players possibly available per game of around 50.

Potential roadblock: Safety

The logistics of assuring a safe work environment, not just for the players but the coaches and all essential staff who would be with the team and at the ballpark, is a massive undertaking. It starts with having enough tests available in the country, and we simply are not there yet. Will that happen by July?

This Twitter thread from Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle is eye-opening.

Potential roadblock: Player salary/compensation

The owners and players are already showing this could be the biggest hurdle. Owners, fearful of lost revenue without fans in the stands, want the players to agree to a revenue split. The players union sees that as a salary cap, which is a non-starter in their minds.

Both sides are digging in, and it’s going to get ugly, unless someone in a position of power/influence realizes what a colossally bad idea that would be.

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