Late last night Dick Williams, the Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations, was on a conference call with the media to provide some answers and explanations of what the organization is planning on, and doing over the next few days with spring training being suspended, and the players making the choice that they will allow anyone to stay around the spring training area, or head back home.

With regards to the minor league players specifically, Williams had a few things to state. “With our minor league players, we physically brought them to the complex (today). And have been going through the process with them, making sure all of the logistics are explained to them,” Williams said. “Obviously there’s a higher percentage of international players there (in minor league camp). A lot larger numbers than our major league camp. So we are going through with every individual player their options and helping them with travel logistics.”

Williams was asked about whether the minor league players were allowed to remain in the Goodyear area and use the facility, too. “They (the minor leaguers) are given the option to stay. They are encouraged to go home just because their season is behind ours (MLB), so they’re facing a pretty lengthy delay,” Williams said. “But we were working with those guys what their choices are. We do anticipate a significant number of minor league players staying here and continuing in their apartments. We have a minor league presence here almost year round. We’re pretty used to busing them to and from the complex. We’ll figure out what meals will be provided out of the complex and they’ll continue to receive their per diem.”

It’s worth noting here that given that we are already seeing travel restrictions for people coming into America being put in place, that players who do not reside in the United States are far more likely to not return home as there is not a guarantee that they will be able to come back if and when baseball is ready to resume.

Nothing is official at this point as Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association continue to discuss how things will go, but Williams offered this as to how things could play out as far as a plan goes if and when baseball can start up again.

“Our understanding is that there is going to be a period of downtime and then they are going to closely monitor the health situation and when they decide on a time where they think they can start the season back up. They are going to build in a multi-week time for preparation and it’s my understanding that it’s most likely it would be back out here for all teams, back at their spring training facilities, but that has not been committed to.”

7 Responses

  1. Norwood Nate

    So many things to consider that will have to be worked out. I don’t envy the people in charge of sorting all this out. Questions I see that will need an answer at some point: How does this effect service time? No one will be able to get a full 172 day season in. Will minor league shortened seasons still count toward a full season of service time with regard to Rule V protection? How does this change opt-out dates for minor league FA’s? What about players serving suspensions? What about players with incentive escalators built into their salaries? Will this have any effect on guys with opt out clauses built into their contracts (like Castellanos) since they won’t get a full season? How will this effect draft pools where college seniors had no leverage but may now have leverage? Will underclassmen in college also be granted another year of eligibility (because they were short changed too, just not in their final season). How will this effect HS kids will college commitments where they may no longer have an open spot/playing time if seniors return? Will the trade deadline be pushed back since the start of the season will be pushed back? Do we have an All-Star break less than two months after the season starts?

    I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg. I don’t expect anyone to have answers now. But man, this is going to be a season like no other. Crazy.

    • Doug Gray

      With service time there’s precedent – in the past when the seasons were shortened, it went to the same percentage of “days” as it was at the time. That was one of the things that Tony Clark and MLB officials were reportedly discussing at their meeting yesterday (service time and how it would work – not necessarily the specific % based role).

      As for everything else – I don’t have a clue, but that’s a lot of what I brought up yesterday in the “what’s next” article.

      • Norwood Nate

        Good to know they have some precedent for the service time. Makes sense. Thanks.

  2. Gregmlb24

    sorry if someone has mentioned it already, but what about the draft? With college baseball being suspended and most HS seasons. What will they do?

  3. MK

    It sounds like NCAA is going to give Spring Sport seniors and additional year of eligibility which would change draft as well, giving those seniors a lot more negotiating leverage.

    This will somewhat effect my family. My granddaughter will be a Freshman softball player at Louisville starting in the fall and now might have an additional class of players to compete for playing time with.