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Report: Minor League Baseball’s 2020 season could be cancelled

MLB will reportedly expand rosters and add a developmental league.

Sacramento River Cats v Salt Lake Bees Photo by Daniela Porcelli/Getty Images

Second update: MiLB has denied the report.

Update: Since publishing this article, Jeff Passan of ESPN, JJ Cooper of Baseball America, and Emily Waldon of The Athletic all reported that no decision has been made regarding the upcoming Minor League season. So take the cited report in the body of the article with a healthy grain of salt.

We’re more than a month into an MLB season that hasn’t started yet. Things were supposed to kick off on March 26, with the San Francisco Giants visiting the Los Angeles Dodgers. Instead, we’re about to tear the “April” page off of the calendar, and we still haven’t had any baseball.

And we won’t for a while. Even the most optimistic and tentative plans have the MLB season on hold until at least July.

Apparently Minor League Baseball is not a part of those plans. According to a report from Joe Doyle of Lookout Landing and Baseball America, there will be no MiLB season this year. Instead, MLB teams will have expanded rosters if and when baseball resumes, and they’ll have a development league to play out of their Spring Training facilities.

This certainly shouldn’t come as any surprise. Attempting to resume a season during the coronavirus pandemic is a gargantuan task, and one that will cost loads of money.

MLB and its 30 teams can afford to undertake such a task because of the massive amount of revenue that the broadcasting will generate. But with MiLB not generating any money in TV deals, attempting to have a season would effectively amount to hemorrhaging money. If they can get 80% of the prospect development for 20% of the cost, you can bet that they’ll do that.

Doyle also reported that players and agents are preparing for a season to start even earlier than the aforementioned tentative idea:

According to two players associated with those agents, they expect to be playing baseball sooner rather than later.

“Expecting to report in the next three weeks,” one source said via text message. “We’re expecting the season to start in June.”

According to one agent, the news comes on the heels of the NBA opening some of their facilities. Major League Baseball is attempting to follow suit, using the precedent as a means and guide to opening facilities of their own.

Baseball returning in June would definitely be a win, but it goes without saying that no season should resume until it is safe and responsible to do so.