Sixty games ain’t much of a season, and there remains serious doubt that even that can be pulled off, but here we go into what figures to be the weirdest baseball season in our lifetimes.
The mechanics of this oddity remain murky to me. The active rosters will begin at 30 players, drop to 28 after a couple of weeks and to 26 a bit later than that.
Teams will have access to 60 players, which is a lot. Last year, in a full 162-game schedule, the Twins used 50, and that’s a low figure.
But the precise rules for moving players on and off the active roster are a mystery to me. Presumably, there are rules to keep the Twins from pitching Jose Berrios on Monday and moving him off the roster for four days until his next start. Presumably, also, players such as Trevor May, who is out of options, can’t be readily moved off the roster other than for injury.
But what about the likes of Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff, highly regarded prospects not yet on the 40-man roster but who will be on the 60-man player pool?
Does this count as an option year? Will the Twins, in the unlikely scenario that they wind up activating Lewis, have to bounce somebody off the 40 to make room for him?
(My guesses are: not an option year unless the player is activated, and yes, one would still have to be on the 40 to be on the active roster.)
Lewis, Kirilloff and probably others will be in the 60-player pool not so much because the Twins expect to use them but for developmental purposes. Others figure to be there just for depth. Caleb Thielbar, Minnesota native and lefty reliever, last pitched in the majors in 2015; he was in camp with the Twins this spring and is reportedly to be in the pool.
Jared Diamond, the national baseball writer for the Wall Street Journal, said this week on MLB Radio that he thinks it will be a remarkable accomplishment if even one regular-season game is played. I agree; the United States has failed to corral this virus, and I see no reason to believe things are going to get better.
The three weeks allotted to prepare teams for the shortened schedule is not only too short for normal preparations but too long to blockade the infection.
We will either see some semblance of major-league baseball or a train wreck. The entertainment value of the latter would come at a steep price.
Edward Thoma is at email@example.com and on Twitter @bboutsider.