MLB commissioner Rob Manfred spoke to owners and went on MLB Network on Monday to explain his approach to the 2020 season at least 14 members of the Marlins tested positive for COVID-19 last weekend.
Manfred made it clear that he has no intention of canceling the season, but he was unable to provide clear parameters for what could cause a harsh interruption to the campaign, nor did he attempt to allay concerns that the outbreak of the coronavirus had spread from the marlins to another MLB team.
The league postponed two games for Monday, but then continued nine more games. Another between the White Sox and Indians was delayed due to rain. The Marlins’ Tuesday game against the Orioles has also been put on hold.
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Dodgers pitcher David Price, who signed out of the season, was one of MLB’s critics on Monday after reports of the Miami outbreak surfaced. Price said he was home because the league could not be trusted to take care of his players.
“I see that hasn’t changed,” Price wrote on Twitter.
Manfred said he disagreed with Price’s assessment during his TV interview.
These are the main tips of what Manfred said:
MLB has no threshold for positive tests that would wipe out the season
The most worrying part of Manfred’s conversation with owners and TV spot was his inability to record a positive test total that would immediately stop the action in the league. It was also disturbing how he viewed the issue as a question of competitiveness and health, rather than just the well-being of players.
Manfred started his TV interview by focusing on safety and told Tom Verducci: “Our primary concern is, of course, the health of the players and their families and making sure we do everything we can to prevent the spread of the virus to our workers. minimalize.”
But when specifically asked what it took to close the season, Manfred started framing things from a field perspective.
“I think a team that loses some players making it completely non-competitive would be an issue we should address and think about making a change,” said Manfred.
Manfred added that if it “started to pose a health threat” there could be a shutdown, but did not explain at what point MLB would consider its players’ infection dangerous. He also said this was not a nightmare scenario.
Each MLB team has a pool of 60 players to draw from this season and a specific coronavirus IL designation to use on infected players.
MLB does not know where the Marlins outbreak came from
Manfred acknowledged that the source of the COVID-19 distribution in the Marlins’ clubhouse was unknown, despite the presence of contact tracking methods on each team.
Knowing where the outbreak started is important because it could help MLB understand who else might have infected the virus.
“We have some theories about what could have happened, but nothing definitive at the moment,” Manfred said.
MLB is still waiting for more test results
Manfred said additional COVID-19 tests would help determine if MLB would cancel additional games. For the time being, however, it is planned that the Marlins resume action on Wednesday evening in Baltimore.