As we’ve fought through a long and hard winter, baseball fans are getting anxious, as we’re just a week away from the start of Spring Training. With that being said, Major League Baseball news will be plentiful in the upcoming weeks. One of the biggest pieces of baseball news is the Major League Baseball Players Association and Major League Baseball agreeing on health and safety protocols for the upcoming season. With that in mind, let’s get right to it so you can keep planning your bets and place them against their MLB odds for the upcoming season.
MLB COVID-19 Update – February 10th Edition
We had heard rumors that the season would be shortened, but under this agreement, the season will still be 162 games, and Opening Day will be April 1st. One other major item of contention that was decided was that there will not be a universal designated hitter. The National will go back to playing their normal rules with the pitcher inserted into the lineup, and the American League will continue to use the designated hitter.
A couple of rule changes that were used during the 60-game season that were highly criticized will stay in effect this season. Any doubleheader played will consist of two seven-inning contests. Also, any game that goes into extra innings will use the rule that states that to start the 10th inning for each team, a runner will be placed on second base.
As for the safety protocols, Major League Baseball is collaborating with the NFL and the NBA to adopt some of their best policies and practices. MLB will use the NBA’s contact-tracing method which has been highly praised by medical experts.
In player news, a couple of well-known free agents are now off of the market. Yadier Molina has re-signed with the St. Louis Cardinals. He has signed a one-year $9 million contract to return to the Cardinals for his 18th season. Molina has had what many consider to be a hall of fame career, and he wants to end his career with St. Louis.
Infield Jonathan Villar has signed a one-year deal with the New York Mets. The speedy middle infielder will make a guaranteed $3.55 million with New York this season. He split last season between the Marlins and the Blue Jays. Villar has a lot of pop in his bat and is capable of hitting 20 homers. He is also one of the top base stealing threats in the league.
Although we’ve had a slew of free agent signings over the last few days, there are still some very good players remaining on the market. The top remaining player out there is probably Justin Turner. The 36-year-old is probably the last big hitter left on the market. When healthy, Turner is capable of hitting .300 with 20-30 home run potential.
The top pitcher left on the market is James Paxton. Although he has battled numerous injuries throughout his career, when he is healthy, Paxton has dominant stuff. When he has pitched nearly a full season his career ERA is 3.54 and he averages 183 strikeouts per season. Signing Paxton is a gamble, but if he’s healthy, he could be a huge bargain for a playoff contender.