Five Teams Most Likely To Benefit From Baseball's Late Start
A Later Start Will Benefit Recently Injured Players Like Aaron Judge
Concerns over the Coronavirus have led to the cancellation of Spring Training as well as the postponement of Opening Day, decisions which will greatly effect the 2020 Major League Baseball season. Commissioner Rob Manfred has not yet disclosed whether the 162 game schedule will be reduced or the season extended into November, or perhaps it could end up being both.
The delay, although it will make baseball fans restless, could actually prove beneficial to some clubs. Important players who are recovering from injury will have more time to heal, which could be especially helpful to pitchers.
No team is as likely to benefit from the delayed start more than the Yankees, who on the scheduled beginning date would have been without nearly half of its rotation. Front office officials have to feel even more fortunate to have signed left hander Garrit Cole, whose presence will alleviate the loss of two other starters.
One of the pair, Luis Severino, will miss the entire season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. James Paxton, however, should be fully recuperated from back issues by May, which is when the season may actually start.
Teammates Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, two of the most prominent sluggers in all of baseball, should be in a hundred percent health by then as well. Both outfielders began Spring Training with injuries that left them questionable for the original Opening Day, so their status will likely be upgraded if the regular games do not commence until late April or early May.
In the senior circuit, the much improved Reds will probably benefit from a late start for the same reason as the Yanks. Cincinnati's All-Star third baseman Eugenio Suarez missed some of the Cactus League schedule because of surgery, which left his readiness for Opening Day tentative.
Since play will not resume until mid-April at the earliest, Suarez should certainly be in the lineup between new sluggers Nick Castellanos and Mike Moustakas. Two other recently injured players the Reds are counting on, shortstop Freddy Galvis and outfielder Nick Senzel, also now have more time to get back to full health.
Three other clubs might take advantage of the delayed opening, but it will not be due to injuries. Rather, the Rockies, the Cubs and the Indians could use that gap to revive trade opportunities, which has been a topic of discussion all through the offseason.
Colorado might find an agreeable partner to take on disgruntled third baseman Nolan Arenado, just as the Cubs could do with former MVP Kris Bryant. Cleveland is in the same situation with All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor who, like the aforementioned infielders, could find GMs using the idle weeks to engineer trade talks that had stopped once players reported to their preseason sites.
Perhaps benefiting most of all will be the Houston Astros, who have suffered icy receptions all spring. A lengthy delay to the season, combined with the scare of the Coronavirus, might cause fans to forget about the electronic sign-stealing controversy that has beset Houston this entire offseason.