The foundation for the salvaged 2020 MLB season is expected to be proposed to team owners on Monday with the hope that it can be agreed upon, and then delivered to the players on Tuesday.
The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal broke it all down in his latest report, and the proposal has some interesting tidbits that combine to create an MLB season we've never seen before.
Here are just a few changes that are expected to be made:
- The season will be roughly 80 games, with 78- and 82-game seasons among the possibilities. A July 1 start date -- or around that date -- is the target.
- Teams would only be playing opponents within their geographical area. So, for the Yankees, that means the AL and NL East divisions.
- Teams will be playing in "as many home parks as possible" without any fans in attendance. If they are unable to do so, moving to their spring training facility or another site deemed playable by the league will occur.
- An expanded playoff format that includes two more wild card teams will be instituted. Also, the only teams getting a bye from the new "wild card" round will be those with the best records in each league. The other two division winners and four wild card teams will then face off in a best-of-three series.
- Rosters will be expanded to as many as "45 to 50 players."
With those changes in mind, here is how the Yankees could be impacted by these expected changes:
Schedule gets tougher
The Yankees already have a tough task facing the Rays and Red Sox in their division, but they also play the Orioles and Blue Jays who shouldn't give them much trouble. However, if the NL East is seen more regularly, things get a little tricky.
Teams like the Mets, Braves, Phillies and the defending World Series-champion Nationals were all playoff contenders heading into this year. Stacked with young talent, these teams are very solid as the Yankees got to see for themselves last season when they faced off.
The new division would have the Yankees facing their own AL East foes 12 times each, per the report's 78-game season (four three-game series each). Then, the NL East opponents will be two three-game series each, so six games total against each team.
New York certainly has the lineup to combat those tough matchups, but with less games on the schedule, more is at stake with each one.
Being smart with injury-prone players
The expanded rosters offers a unique opportunity for the Yankees to conserve their injury-prone players. Reversing that terrible IL list of last season is a primary goal for the Yankees, and having the resources to pull players mid-game, or give them a rest as a whole to preserve them is a clear advantage for this squad.
Of course, the Yankees would love to see someone like Aaron Judge come back and go 110 percent every night. But this format would allow him to be somewhat eased into the season and maintain his body before the playoff begins. Same goes for many other players, too.
Depth was the key for the Yankees last season, and exploiting that again will be key.
Top prospects get their shot
Speaking of expanded rosters, this will allow those on the cusp of reaching the bigs this season potentially do so right away.
Think of Deivi Garcia or Clarke Schmidt, two pitchers who were very close to putting on pinstripes for the first time in their young careers, coming up and contributing right away. It could help the pitching staff tremendously as well as other position players giving Aaron Boone options in pinch-hit or defensive switch situations.
The Gerrit Cole factor
I might sound like a broken record for saying this just like the Luis Severino loss, but the weigh on Cole's shoulders will definitely feel heavier if the Yankees don't secure the top record in the American League.
Those three-game wild card round series will be very interesting to watch, as the first game will put one team in a great position and the other with its back up against the wall.
Having a bonafide ace that has historically been a solid shut-down starter in the postseason is crucial for those series, and the Yankees just gave Cole $324 million to be just that. He will be a huge factor in a three-game set -- but obviously the Yankees would rather wait to see how that plays out with a bye in that round.
No choosing who to send down
Clint Frazier, Mike Tauchman, Thairo Estrada, Tyler Wade. You're all safe.
It's a good problem to have, but the Yankees were going to have to choose who got sent down to Triple-A after spring training when they have many options like these to work with.
Now Boone can deploy them how he sees fit. And if 2019 is an indication, they will all find a way to contribute somehow.