While the union and league negotiate safety measures and financial concessions behind the scenes, actual actionable plans need to move forward on other fronts, so everyone can be ready to act as soon as a deal is (hopefully) struck.
One of those key, near-term decisions is where a team intends to hold their formal Spring Training II activities, and the options are pretty simple: (1) your home ballpark or (2) your spring training ballpark in Arizona or Florida.
Earlier today, word dropped that the Mets and Yankees planned to “Re-Spring” in Florida, given the severity of COVID-19 cases in New York, but not every team is following suit.
For example, the Chicago Cubs prefer to keep things close to home:
Inside the Cubs’ pay cuts, hopes for preseason camp in Chicago and ideas about reopening Wrigley Field (rooftops in Phase 4?) – if MLB, the players’ union and local authorities can somehow make all this work: https://t.co/WvXHRIgNRk
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) May 22, 2020
According to The Athletic’s sources, “the Cubs would prefer to hold their preseason camp in Chicago, assuming local authorities approve those plans.” Mooney later concedes that while social distancing would be easier in Arizona (there are also better training facilities), but the logistics of moving back to Mesa and practicing in 100-degree heat helps tip the scales.
To be clear, no decision has yet been made, but assuming the Cubs get permission (all indications from state and local government seem to indicate they would), and assuming a deal gets done between the league and union (TBD), I’d expect the Cubs to train at Wrigley Field this summer.
If and when we get to that point (please, oh please), you can expect the Cubs to utilize both clubhouses, the concourses, as well as the office building to expand their footprint and space people out. Moreover, schedules would likely be staggered to avoid overlap – likely in accordance with the protocols outlined in the league’s initial 67-page proposal.
Here’s a quick rundown of where certain teams plan to hold Spring Training II activities, given publicly available information (via MLB Trade Rumors):
• Cubs: Wrigley Field
• Mets: Florida
• Yankees: Florida
• Phillies: Citizens Bank Ballpark
• Diamondbacks: Chase Field
As you can see, teams are mostly split. And I’m sure teams will continue to operate on a case-by-case basis.