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Tampa Bay Rays News and Links: Major league rosters set, minor league season cancelled

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No one will hit the bull this year

Rays stuff

It’s hard to believe that we are moving toward something of a baseball season. Are you feeling a little rusty on which players are on which rosters? Which teams are considered competitive? I know I am. So I was glad that the Athletic shared this roundtable, put together by the beat writers for the American League East teams ($).

More on Nick Bistko, Rays top draft pick, from his hometown newspaper.

Rays minor leaguers sharing their skills with Broward County youth:

2020 Baseball

It’s official (if expected): no minor league season in 2020. Marc Topkin says this could be devastating to teams that were, in some cases, only at the edge of solvency ($). The Durham Bulls have feelings about this:

Here’s your go-to reference for the special 2020 roster rules.

In case you were wondering how the folks at 538 were thinking about the resumption of sports, they have shared this chat. It’s a bit meandering, but they share some interesting ideas.

Player opt-outs

With an eye to the increased dangers posed by COVID-19 to those with several pre-existing medical conditions, the MLB-MLBPA agreement for 2020 offers players the option to decline to play this year. Those with medical conditions can opt out while receiving pay without affecting service time. Whether players can opt out with pay because of high-risk immediate family members is not clear — that may be left up to negotiations between individual teams and players. But all players can opt out if they are willing to forgo salary and service time accrual.

Because players are entitled to medical privacy, we don’t know whether those opting out are in categories that entitle them to draw their salaries.

As of this writing, just a few players have decided not to play in 2020 (expect more to come).

Ian Desmond (Colorado Rockies) explained his reasons, and his need to be with his family not only to address health concerns but also to guide his children at a particular fraught moment in our history:

Other opt-outs include Mike Leake of the Diamondbacks and the Washington Nationals Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross.

Other thoughts on baseball

How the NBA does things differently than MLB — or, a little socialism makes your league stronger.

Baseball front offices have never had particularly diverse leadership. But now, not only are executives overwhelmingly white and male; they also are likely to come via a narrow pipeline of those with elite university educations. Have yesterday’s innovators — those young Ivy-educated analytical whiz kids like Theo Epstein — become today’s entrenched establishment? Joon Lee at ESPN considers this question.

Cool history tidbit:

Former Rays/Durham Bulls infielder Micah Johnson is part of this effort to explore racial injustice through art: