Barring something changing because of COVID-19, we are officially going to have an MLB season this year. However, everything is going to look different than usual. Some areas (like potential fan attendance later in the season) still need to be worked out, but this is what Major League Baseball is expected to look like in 2020:
- MLB spring training will begin on July 1. Because of a rise in coronavirus cases in Arizona and Florida, teams will hold spring training 2.0 in their own home cities.
- The MLB regular season will be 60 games, beginning on July 23 or 24 and ending on September 27 (the last Sunday in September).
- Games will be held in home ball parks with no fans to start. Hopefully things progress to the point of at least limited fan capacity by the end of the regular season and into the postseason.
- Games will be played based on geography, with corresponding divisions from the other league playing each other. (So, the AL East faces the NL East, the AL Central faces the NL Central, and the AL West faces the NL West).
- Ten teams will make the postseason as usual (division winners and two wild cards from each league).
- There was talk of playoff expansion this year, but the MLB and MLBPA being unable to strike a deal before the MLB imposed a 60-game season meant no expanded postseason.
- The 2020 MLB trade deadline will be August 31.
No All-Star Game
- In a shortened MLB season with an Opening Day that will start well after the All-Star break usually occurs, there will be no MLB All-Star Game (or Home Run Derby) in 2020.
Rosters and Taxi Squads
- 25-man MLB rosters will expand to 30 players to start. After two weeks rosters will drop to 28 players. After four weeks rosters will drop to 26 players.
- Teams will have a pool of 60 players to utilize this season. It will consist of the 40-man roster and an additional 20 players to form a “taxi” squad of guys ready to contribute if called upon.
- The National League will have a designated hitter for all of its games this season.
- The NL has resisted using the DH, but this could lead to the league adopting it full-time starting in 2021.
- Baseball fans seem to be universally against this one, but extra innings this season will start with a runner on second base to help create a quicker end to games so that a winner can be determined.