Middlebrooks On 2020 Season: “It’s A Flip Of A Coin At This Point”

MLB analyst Will Middlebrooks was extremely confident that there would be baseball in 2020; now, however, he isn’t so sure

May 28, 2020 - 7:26 am
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A few days ago, former big leaguer and current CBS Sports HQ MLB analyst Will Middlebrooks was extremely confident that there would be baseball in 2020.

Now, however, he isn’t as sure.

“I got to go 50/50 right now,” Middlebrooks told JR SportBrief. “If you had asked me three days ago, I would have said 90 percent we’re going to have a season and they’re going to figure this out. But if they refuse to go back to close to the pro-rated salary that they agreed on in March, man, I feel like it’s a flip of a coin at this point.”

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association continue to negotiate return-to-play proposals, with – no surprise – compensation being a sticking point. MLB has proposed a sliding-scale model that could reportedly leave some of the highest-paid players in the game with less than 40 percent of their full-season salaries. This proposal, of course, is not popular among players.

If both sides are going to come to an agreement, well, they need to do soon.

“I would say a soft date for an agreement would be the first couple days of June – June 1, June 2,” said Middlebrooks, who won a World Series with the Red Sox in 2013. “Guys would need to report to spring training again by like the 10th of June. That would give them two weeks. Two weeks isn’t a lot for hitters. I think pitchers have been able to stay in shape, extend themselves, they can throw bullpens – they don’t need live hitters to be ready to throw. They just need to get their endurance up, their arm strength. 

“But it’s going to be tough for the hitters,” Middlebrooks continued. “That two-week point in spring training is when you start to get that timing down. Two weeks is when everything shuts down. They haven’t had many pitchers to face. Let’s be honest: these guys are hitting in the cage and hitting off a tee and you can only do so much to get ready for a season. So I would say they would need to start spring training by around the 10th of June if they want to start in early July.”