MLB is not, at this point, considering canceling the 2020 MLB season, per multiple reports. Scott Miller says that the owners had their weekly phone call today, and the subject of canceling the season did not come up.
The Miami Marlins having multiple players test positive, resulting in the team staying in Philadelphia (where they played yesterday), has led to the cancellation of their scheduled game tonight in Miami against the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles are returning the Baltimore, so clearly there will not be a game played in Miami tomorrow, either.
In addition, the Philadelphia Phillies, who played the Marlins yesterday, are all being tested, and their game against the New York Yankees this evening has been cancelled.
The CDC guidelines provide that an individual is considered “exposed” if they are within six feet of a positive individual for at least fifteen minutes. It is unlikely that any Phillie player was within six feet of any Marlin player for at least fifteen minutes, and the fact that they are outside, rather than inside, also helps. Nonetheless, under the circumstances, the testing and cancellation of tonight’s game makes sense. If the tests come back negative, then I would assume play would resume for the Phillies, either tomorrow, or later this week in New York.
The situation with the Marlins is trickier, since the players have been in close proximity to each other, and there’s no guarantee someone hasn’t contracted it that hasn’t tested positive yet. The best case scenario is that there are no more positive tests, and the healthy players are joined by taxi squad players to round out the roster to resume play in Baltimore on Wednesday. More likely is, I think, their not resuming play until the weekend.
It is worth noting that this sort of scenario was foreseen — its why the league has the COVID-19 list, the 60 man pool, and the provisions to allow rosters to be filled out if there’s an outbreak on a team. It doesn’t make the health concerns any less real, however, and I think it’s fair to say the hope was that they’d make it farther into the season than the opening weekend before having to address these issues.
As a practical matter, I also think that, if the season doesn’t get cancelled, the league is going to have to acknowledge that there will likely be more cancellations, and every team likely won’t play 60 games. A team may make the playoffs by a half game because they played one more or one less game than the team they bean out. That isn’t ideal, but that’s the reality of playing baseball during a pandemic.