Beginning next week — the last of the regular season — all players on contending teams will move into hotels to create a quarantine-like situation before the playoffs, sources told The Post.
That was the most difficult detail that needed to be worked out between MLB and the Players Association before the sides reached an accord Monday night on how to try to complete this season.
Some players fought against the concept believing that the sport has done well in the last month in minimizing COVID-19 cases and were concerned that teams that went into the quarantine in late September and reached the World Series could be away from families for a month or more.
But MLB has strongly expressed a fear of coming this far and not concluding the playoffs and pushed hard for the safest possible protocols to finish out the year. The postseason is worth nearly $1 billion to MLB.
So the plan that was hammered out requires all contending clubs — even those at home — to move to a hotel in the last week of the regular season. All players on the 40-man roster and IL will be asked to join that quarantine because once it begins, clubs can no longer summon a player from the alternate site to join the 28-man roster — it will only be those who are in the quarantine.
As teams are eliminated from playoff contention, players on those clubs can leave the hotels if they desire.
The expanded 16-team playoffs will have the best-of-three first round played exclusively in the higher seed’s home stadium. The Division Series and League Championship Series will be played in bubble-like scenarios. The NL playoffs will be contested in Houston and Arlington, Texas at the stadiums of the Astros and Rangers. The AL playoffs will be contested in San Diego and Los Angeles and at the stadiums of the Padres and Dodgers.
The World Series will be played at the new Globe Life Field in Arlington.
J.T. Realmuto is part of key roster decisions facing Mets
Whoever is entrusted with forming the Mets blueprint for 2021 will have multiple high-end pieces around which to build.
The key for Brodie Van Wagenen or a general manager-to-be-named-later in the event of a front office overhaul following a likely ownership change – Steve Cohen must still be approved by the MLB owners – will be spending the newfound dollars of a hedge-fund billionaire wisely while making a shrewd trade or two.
The Mets aren’t as hopeless as their 26-34 record from this season suggests. A look at what they have and what they still need:
Andres Gimenez was a smooth defender and brought a respectable bat to the lineup as a rookie, which led to his rise as the starting shortstop over the final month. It has left disappointing Amed Rosario in limbo. If the Mets were to trade Rosario they would be selling low, leaving it more likely the team will convert him into a utility player who can bounce around the infield and maybe play in the outfield, where a right-handed bat would be welcomed.
J.D. Davis regressed after a breakout season in 2019, perhaps showing he belongs in a platoon role at third base with either Jeff McNeil or Luis Guillorme, the latter of whom brought an unexpected spark with his bat and glove.
Robinson Cano still has three years and $72 million remaining on his contract, but that thought isn’t as unsettling as it was a year ago, following Cano’s rebound season. Ideally, the designated hitter would remain in the NL, allowing Cano to see occasional action from that spot, with McNeil receiving more reps at second base.
The DH also factors into how the Mets proceed with first base, as Dominic Smith has demonstrated he’s worthy of the position full-time. But first base will belong to Pete Alonso unless he can DH.
George Springer will be a free agent and could be the best available option to fill two needs for the Mets: a true center fielder and right-handed bat for the outfield. Michael Conforto remains under club control through only next season, leaving the Mets to mull a potential contract extension that would keep him as a cornerstone in the lineup. Smith, McNeil and Brandon Nimmo could figure into the left field mix, but all three are left-handed hitters, raising the possibility one will be traded.
J.T. Realmuto will be the top free agent on the market this offseason, and while there might be hesitation to hurl a fortune toward a 31-year-old catcher, the Mets certainly need the upgrade. Put another way, an ace of Jacob deGrom’s stature is worthy of an elite batterymate. Realmuto would elevate the pitching staff’s performance while bringing another quality bat to the lineup.
Wilson Ramos’ lack of agility was a significant issue that couldn’t be obscured by his bat, as he struggled offensively. The Mets hold an option on Ramos for next season. Robinson Chirinos and Tomas Nido are the backup possibilities.
The cupboard needs serious restocking. DeGrom is a given and rookie David Peterson showed he’s worthy of a rotation spot, but beyond that questions loom. Can Seth Lugo be consistent enough as a starter to merit a job? What about the rest of the rotation?
NL Cy Young award favorite Trevor Bauer is the big fish available among pitchers on a free-agent market that also includes names such as Masahiro Tanaka and Marcus Stroman. The Mets need to add at least two starters, as it remains unlikely Noah Syndergaard will return from Tommy John surgery rehab to start the season. In a best-case scenario, Syndergaard would probably resume pitching by June.
Steven Matz had an abysmal season, but his trade value is low. The Mets might retain him – he is under club control for another year – but can’t depend on him for the rotation.
Edwin Diaz this season was much closer to the All-Star performer from Seattle than the flop who looked overmatched in 2019. Now comes the annual pursuit of pieces to fill in around the one or two dependable parts. Jeurys Familia remains signed through next season and Miguel Castro is under team control. Justin Wilson will head to free agency. Dellin Betances holds a player option worth $6 million for next season. If he declines that option, he receives a $3 million buyout. Robert Gsellman and Brad Brach are among the other names the Mets will consider.
NBA Finals DraftKings Picks: NBA DFS lineup advice for Game 1 Lakers-Heat Showdown tournaments
The NBA Finals get underway with Game 1 Wednesday night as the Lakers take on the upset-minded Heat. In a series with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo, putting together a DraftKings Showdown lineup to play in a single-game tournament can be a challenge. There are a lot of high-priced, productive players without a ton of options to choose from when trying to find value, so having a sound strategy will be key.
Our biggest call for Game 1 is fading Jimmy Butler. It’s next to impossible to play all four of Davis, James, Butler and Adebayo, and so the choice to fade Butler was made. He’s probably the least likely of the big names to have a monster game of more than 50 or 60 DK points, and the Lakers have a few strong wing defenders to help slow Butler down.
DraftKings Showdown Picks: Lakers vs. Heat Game 1
Captain (1.5x price, 1.5x points): Alex Caruso, Lakers ($4,500)
Caruso has developed into the wizard of playing with LeBron James. The Lakers are historically great when that duo is on the floor together. We know Caruso will come off the bench, but we wanted to snag a value captain here for the sake of playing three of the four best players. Caruso should be called upon plenty to help defend the Heat’s bevy of wing talent, and he does just enough offensively to pay off value here.
FLEX: LeBron James, Lakers ($13,200)
If you ask me, he’s the greatest of all time after making it to his 10th NBA Finals. You can’t fade LeBron, you just can’t. He could get a triple-double while sleepwalking through the game, and he probably won’t be sleepwalking. If you’re looking for a concern, maybe it’s the defense of Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala, but that isn’t enough to push me off of playing him.
FLEX: Anthony Davis, Lakers ($12,000)
Davis proves a tougher matchup for Miami than James does. The Heat will likely mostly use Adebayo on Davis, but Davis wins that matchup from a height perspective, which should help him on the glass and as a jump-shooter. Nobody on the Miami bench can defend Davis better than Bam, so it should be relatively smooth sailing for AD.
FLEX: Bam Adebayo, Heat ($10,600)
Adebayo took his game to a whole new level late in the series against the Celtics – he’s already been great this year, but all of a sudden he started joining the triple-double watch that James is normally on. Adebayo is the focal point of Miami’s offense and should pile up stats across the board no matter how L.A. tries to defend him.
FLEX: Duncan Robinson, Heat ($6,800)
Robinson is a streaky three-point specialist, but you need the potential for an eruption from a non-superstar to win an NBA Showdown tournament. At least early in the series, Robinson should be a matchup problem for the Lakers since very few players play like him. The way he flies around the perimeter and around screens should find open looks early in this series.
FLEX: Markieff Morris, Lakers ($2,600)
Morris will play double-digit minutes off L.A.’s bench, and the Lakers could choose to go smaller in this series (away from Javale McGee and Dwight Howard and to Morris). We saw Morris go on a three-point outburst once earlier this postseason. He’s unlikely to do it again, but he’s the best we’re getting at this price point.
Giving the edge to San Diego
The San Diego Padres are back in the postseason for the first time since 2006 and will be facing the team they saw the last time they were there — the St. Louis Cardinals.
San Diego enters the postseason with an ailing starting rotation. Mike Clevinger, the team’s big trade-deadline acquisition, might not pitch at all. The news on n th who left his last start due to a biceps injury, seems to be significantly more encouraging. That’s huge considering Lamet has given up just one run in 12 starts in the first time through the batting order and has posted a 2.09 season ERA with 12.1 strikeout per nine innings.
He will have the edge of facing a Cardinals team that had to play 23 games in 18 days to end the season and now has to travel to the Pacific time zone for the first time all season.
The Cardinals will need Jack Flaherty to look more like he did in the second half of the 2019 season as opposed to the 2020 version. Flaherty had a 0.91 ERA in his final 15 starts of 2019, giving up one run or fewer in 12 of those starts. This season, he’s posted a 4.91 ERA and gone five innings or fewer in seven of his past eight starts.
The Cardinals are in the top 10 in the majors in team ERA but have been in the bottom half over the past 30 days, which might be a result of the breakneck schedule.
Despite the starting pitching injuries, the Padres have the edge in this series as their offense ranks third in MLB in runs per game while the Cardinals are in the bottom six. Combine that with San Diego having the No. 2 bullpen ERA the past 30 days, and it should provide betting opportunities on the Padres both game by game and to win the series.
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