Rob Manfred 'Nothing off the Table' for MLB's Possible Schedule Post-Coronavirus

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2020

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred answers questions at a press conference during MLB baseball owners meetings, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred is open to ideas regarding how to handle the return of baseball after the hiatus for the coronavirus pandemic is over.

"Nothing is off the table for us right now," he said during an interview with ESPN's Scott Van Pelt on Wednesday. "There's a lot of ideas out there, and we are open to all of them."

Manfred pointed to the conversations the league has held with the MLB Players Association, and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic highlighted some of the primary talking points from those discussions:

Manfred also noted that the league was optimistic for a May return, per Evan Drelich of The Athletic:

In addition to MLB potentially pushing the draft back from June 10-12, players may receive prorated salaries in a shortened season and receive the same service time for 2020 as they did in 2019 even if the season is canceled.

Ronald Blum of the Associated Press noted the service time situation would mean players such as Mookie Betts, Trevor Bauer, Marcus Stroman, George Springer and JT Realmuto could become free agents next offseason even if there are no games this year.

That Manfred also suggested the league is looking into various options regarding the schedule is notable after ESPN's Jeff Passan appeared on Wednesday's episode of Get Up! and suggested there could be a neutral-site World Series if weather is an issue with the playoffs potentially starting in November.

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Passan said MLB is targeting a June start date where players would participate in a shortened spring training in May, but he noted a later date is also in play:

MLB suspended spring training games and pushed back the start of the regular season as part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic. It is now waiting to see how the pandemic unfolds with play postponed, much like many other sports leagues across the country.

The NBA, NHL and MLS all suspended their seasons as well, while the NFL has made some offseason adjustments and will no longer hold April's draft in front of a live audience.