With Opening Day just a couple of weeks away, organizations around Major League Baseball grapple with preparing their players while keeping them safe. This week saw a few players decide to step away from the game for 2020, along with other news. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories this week.
Posey To Sit Out Season
While names like David Price, Ryan Zimmerman and Nick Markakis had already made the decision to sit out this season, arguably the biggest name to date to decide to take the season off due to the coronavirus is the San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey.
The former MVP hit just .257/.320/.368 with seven home runs, 38 runs batted in and 43 runs scored in 2019, but he is still seen as a cornerstone to the Giants’ roster. With him out, the organization will have big shoes to fill behind the plate.
Early indications are that it won’t be Joey Bart to start the season at catcher, but don’t be surprised if one of the best catching prospects in the league gets a chance at some point.
For Posey, this decision was made largely for his family. In a conference call with reporters, he indicated that he and his wife just adopted twin girls who were born prematurely; thus, this decision is respectfully all about family.
For the Giants, FanDuel has their odds to win the World Series at +30000, so in the long run, it may not be the biggest detriment to the organization that Posey sits out this year, but it is still sad to see a lost year for such an iconic player in the organization.
White Sox’s Kopech Also To Sit
While Posey may be the biggest superstar to announce his intentions to sit out the season, Michael Kopech has become the biggest prospect to make the same decision. The White Sox made the announcement on Friday.
Kopech is a big-time hurler that can consistently hit triple digits on the radar gun. Despite his pedigree, he actually is coming off a lost season as he had Tommy John surgery due to a torn ulnar collateral ligament.
Still, Kopech, along with Yoan Moncada, was seen as the stars of the deal that netted the Boston Red Sox Chris Sale and is seen by the White Sox organization as a building block to their future rotation.
Pham Returns To Camp
According to MLB’s AJ Casavell, Tommy Pham has cleared two consecutive coronavirus tests and will now be able to rejoin the San Diego Padres. This is good news for the Padres after acquiring him from the Tampa Bay Rays this last offseason.
Last year, in Tampa Bay, Pham hit .273/.369/.450 with 21 home runs, 68 runs batted in, 77 runs scored and 25 stolen bases. The Padres will hope to get the same type of production out of the 32-year-old in this shortened season.
As of this writing, Pham is at +10000 to win the National League MVP; however, in a shortened season, crazier things could happen if he can continue the breakout from last season.
Guerrero Jr. To Move To First?
According to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet, it appears that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is switching sides of the diamond for the Toronto Blue Jays. The report indicates that Guerrero will now focus all of his attention on both first base and designated hitter.
It doesn’t necessarily come as a shock that he is switching sides, given his 17 errors last season, but many didn’t really expect it to happen this soon. Still, no matter how poor his defense is, his bat will keep him in the lineup.
Last season, in just 464 at-bats, Guerrero hit .272/.339/.433 with 15 home runs, 69 runs batted in and 52 runs scored. At just 21, Guerrero should have a long career annihilating baseballs. Blue Jays fans hope that Guerrero, Bo Bichette and a plethora of other young talent can turn their woeful seasons around soon.
This year, Toronto’s odds of winning the World Series are at +8500, according to FanDuel, but don’t be surprised if they start to turn some heads soon.