While MLB and MLBPA negotiations have garnered worthy attention, the health and safety of players and personnel is again placed near the forefront.
Seven MLB teams have seen a player on their 40-man roster test positive for the coronavirus this month, according to a Wall Street Journal article.
As a preventative measure, all MLB spring training facilities have reportedly been ordered to perform a “deep clean”. Additionally, all players and staff will be required to “undergo testing before being able to use the facilities again when they open.” All MLB clubs have a spring training home in either Arizona or Florida. The two states appear to be seeing “record” increases in coronavirus cases, which could put players at those facilities at a greater risk.
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweeted that Miami Marlins players were still working out at Marlins Park. which suggests the league hasn’t closed big league stadiums for the same treatment as spring training venues. For now, it appears the Rockies can continue workouts at Coors Field.
The Phillies’ spring training complex has seen MLB’s “first known coronavirus outbreak.” Five players and three staff members for the Phillies have tested positive since Tuesday, and “dozens” are awaiting test results.
Noah Yingling of RoxPile addresses what the Rockies could be looking to do at a 2020 trade deadline. The typical deadline is almost always on July 31; if play resumes, it could easily be pushed back for this year.
If a shortened season improves playoff chances, the Rockies could be looking to acquire players prior to that deadline. Colorado could also look to sell if their chances aren’t as strong, in hopes to get some return for a few players with looming free agency in 2020 or 2021.
Yingling also addresses how protective measures for players against the coronavirus could affect the ability for trades to happen. “If the MLBPA has concerns about a player being around too many people in close quarters, it could be a big issue, especially if the 2020 season is done completely by geography and if rosters are expanded.”
Case Williams may have not been as under-the-radar as some may have thought: “According to [Douglas County baseball coach Craig Gienger], the Reds were poised to draft Williams three picks after the Rockies did.”
Neither the Baseball America Top 500 Prospects nor the MLB.com list of Top 200 Prospects had Williams listed. His opportunities to prove himself this spring were limited, as the pandemic shut down close to his entire season. Patrick Saunders does elaborate on how the right-hander was able to hit 96 in a spring scrimmage, which, according to Williams himself, wasn’t the first time.
Williams signed for $450,000, which is less than five percent of the Rockies’ bonus pool money for the draft (over $10.3 million). Colorado is still in negotiations with draftees Zac Veen, Drew Romo, Chris McMahon, Sam Weatherly and Jack Blomgren.
“The ball doesn’t just jump off Veen’s bat, it flies.”
Forbes writer Bernie Pleskoff authors this scouting report on first-round selection Zac Veen. He says Veen has an “advanced feel for hitting,” “projectable power,” and that his “arm strength and speed are sufficient enough to move to either [outfield] corner.”
Pleskoff also talks about the signability of Colorado’s first overall selection. Veen was selected ninth overall; the slot value at nine is a tick under $5 million. That would be around half of Colorado’s available bonus pool money.
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