MLB to use home ballparks for spring training

By: coachemup!



if plans to play season proceed.

 

Major League Baseball teams, if they’re able to play this year, are preparing for the possibility of resuming spring training at their regular-season ballparks instead of returning to spring training sites in Florida and Arizona, four team executives told USA TODAY Sports.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because no decision has been reached by MLB.

The move would be driven by an interest in saving time and money, with training camps expected to last three weeks before the start of the truncated regular season.

Training in their home ballparks would largely eliminate the need for hotel rooms and per diem for the players during Spring Training 2.0. It would also save time in this shortened season, with everyone in place for the start of the regular season instead of traveling back from spring training sites.

The biggest disadvantage, the executives said, would be having the use of only one field instead of the usual six at their spring training sites. Teams would also be mostly limited to playing intra-squad games during the three weeks, particularly those located outside of two-team cities. Teams in certain regions could also face weather uncertainty.

Club executives have also been told that traveling parties will likely be limited during the season to only essential employees, citing safety and medical concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. The coaching, training and video staffs would be reduced for road games.

In another move to prepare for a possible season, MLB is hoping to reach an agreement by this weekend with the umpires’ union to modify their collective bargaining agreement, according to a person with direct knowledge of the negotiations because talks are ongoing.

MLB is seeking about a 35% pay cut from the umpires for the regular season if a season is played, with full bonuses still paid to those selected to work postseason games. The umpires, who are paid the first of every month, have been paid through April, including $12,000 licensing checks in March.

The 76 major-league umpires have been told that if no agreement is reached, they will no longer be paid until the resumption of the regular season. The maximum salary for umpires is $432,800 – $103,700 less than the minimum salary for major league players. The minimum salary for umpires is $110,000.

“We understand the hardships of this pandemic,’’ one veteran umpire said, “but there are a lot of concerns. If you cut Joe West’s salary in half, he would still make a couple of hundred thousand. If you cut our young umpires’ salaries in half, it will cripple them, and take years to recover.

“We just want to be treated fairly.’’

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