You read tea leaves at a time like this at your own peril, not only because the unknowns remain wide and deep, but also because teams/players/cities/whatever have to make lots of plans in advance just in case this or that winds up working out (or not).
So, then, I present this information mostly for the fact that it underscores the flexibility that could be afforded teams, and only a microscopic amount because it indicates these teams are making some Spring Training II plans:
Yankees and Mets will both be going back to Florida to conduct spring training at their regular spring sites (assuming MLB and union strike a deal). Teams have a choice and while New York’s Covid-19 numbers are improving, Florida’s numbers are better than most per capita.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) May 22, 2020
As even Heyman notes, none of this matters without a deal between the sides, but certainly the teams are operating from a planning standpoint as though the deal will get done. That doesn’t mean it will. But maybe it’s that microscopic amount of optimism?
Anyway, back the “mostly” reason I share this report: it’s a reminder that, if and when Spring Training II happens, all teams are fortunate to have two facilities in two geographic areas in which they could ramp back up for the season. Moreover, even when the season begins (if! I mean if!), having two geographically separated facilities will provide additional flexibility for teams to get going even if playing in their home park is not available or advisable at the time.
As for the Cubs, we have yet to receive any indication for sure about how they’d proceed with a Spring Training II. On the one hand, Illinois/Cook County has yet to officially open back up gym facilities like those at Wrigley Field, so it’s plausible the decision wouldn’t be up to the Cubs come mid-June anyway. On the other hand, I suspect the state would be on board next month if that’s what the Cubs truly deemed their best, safest option.
To that end, though, you’ve got a team of players spread across the country, and many of them still in Arizona. You have much larger training facilities there, but for workouts and field work. Much like normal Spring Training, having the second spring in a very controlled environment like the Sloan Park facilities might be the best thing overall for player health and safety in the ramp-up period.
I could really see the Cubs going either way on this one at this point, and I think the deciding factors would come down to where most players (and their families) are located, which facilities provide the best safety (from COVID-19 and from injuries), and what the state of travel is like next month.