SF Giants: Why it’s good the 2020 season may be limited to 50 games

SF Giants season could be short

As these things often do, the negotiations between MLB and its players took another lurch on Monday afternoon. If the San Francisco Giants have a 2020 season, it might be a much shorter one.

After the league and players offered rather different views on what the season might look like, a third solution came to light: MLB can just do what it wants.

Jeff Passan of ESPN reported that the league has discussed offering a shorter season, perhaps as few as 50 games. The league claimed playing without fans caused teams to lose more than $500,000 per game. (FanGraphs rebutted the exact figure offered by MLB). Originally, its plan was to cut salaries way back to make up for it.

Players, naturally, were not fans of playing for a small fracture of what they would otherwise have earned, pointing out that they’d already negotiated an agreement on that shortly after the postponement of the season.

In that same negotiation, the league is given control over what a season might look like.

Quoted by Passan:

“Based on that feedback received from the Players Association,” the agreement reads, “the Office of the Commissioner will construct and provide to the Players Association, as promptly as possible, a proposed 2020 championship season and postseason schedule (or multiple schedule options) using best efforts to play as many games as possible, while taking into account player safety and health, rescheduling needs, competitive considerations, stadium availability, and the economic feasibility of various alternatives.”

In the first section of the agreement, under the “Resumption of Play” heading, it reads: “By entering into this agreement, the Office of the Commissioner, the Players Association, the Clubs, and Players recognize that each of the parties shall work in good faith to as soon as is practicable commence, play, and complete the fullest 2020 championship season and post-season that is economically feasible.”

What a 50-game season might look like exactly is anyone’s guess. Players have reportedly agreed to the floated regional-based three-division solution floated earlier this year. That would put the Giants in the same division with both NL and AL West teams for the year.

Teams would be played in home ballparks without fans, which the city of San Francisco would allow for beginning in mid-June.

Why a short season is best for SF Giants

A 50-game season isn’t everyone’s dream outcome. Generally, from a fan’s standpoint, more baseball is better.

It’s not exactly ideal from the standpoint of trusting the “results.” As this is a sport where anything can happen for a month or two, but over the long run the noise is filtered out a bit, a 50-game season might not provide “expected” results.

From the Giants standpoint, though, that’s probably a good thing. After all, they weren’t expected to compete this year. Last year, even in their fourth-place finish, you could see just how wild the momentum swung.

From late June through early August, they went 31-19 during a 50-game stretch. Doing that in 2020 could be good enough to make the playoffs, where almost anything can happen in a short season.

In the end, that might make up for the season coming in a bit short.