The further we travel into the Ronaverse, the less we understand. 

“Houston, we have gone beyond the final frontier.”

Teaser: at the end of this article, I want to share a secret about this season.

Anyway, some rules orbiting the baseball conversation seem concrete: 

1) Universal DH for 2020, woohoo!!

2) Runner on 2nd base in extra innings.

3) 30-man active roster dropping to 28 then 26 after a month.

4) MLB owners are crooks. 

5) 60-man player pool . . .

I’ve been reading a lot of confusing things lately, but this one stood out in a crowded field: Sunday is the deadline for teams to submit their 60-man rosters, but it’s not a deadline.

Teams do have to submit something that day, but they can run their 60-man the same way they run their 40-man. 

Hey! Wha’ Happen!?

I also read somewhere along the way that once a player is removed from the 60-man player pool, he cannot return. Can’t recall where so check me on that if you have the interest. 

One thing about the Sunday deadline is positive tests. Like, what? Has every team already tested every player who might be positive right now? ‘Course not, right? So there’s gotta be some kind of immediate sub mechanism. Can’t just keep counting that serial cougher against the sixty, can you? . . . 

60-man player pool . . . 

Sounds very unsafe.

I’m not at all trying to make light of a very serious scenario. But it’s funny the way people say “funny” to talk about something they find deeply uncomfortable.

Anyway the word salad here will be tripping up the baseball-talk world for months, if not all season. Didactic prescriptive grammarians are going to struggle. Or have a heyday, depending on your perspective. 

When we were saying “taxi squad” to reference the 30-ish non-active players currently working at their baseball at a nearby minor league or college site, we did not know MLB was using “taxi squad” to refer to three reserves beyond the 30/26 that travel with the team, one of whom is a catcher. (not certain on this catcher piece)

Wait, do they shelter-in-place with the team? If so, aren’t they just as likely to be unavailable the day they’re needed? 

Oh, and by the way: Active Roster. Taxi Squad. Taxi Pool. There. Fixed it. “Player pool” sounds ridiculous in this context and already refers to other swimming opportunities in fantasy baseball. 

We have no idea what a taxi-squad player makes, nor what a taxi-pool player makes. If it’s $400 per week like all minor leaguers are getting played now, minimum wage laws will have to be ducked–nothing new for MLB’s top-dollar army of lobbyists and lawyers. 

We don’t know if players will make money for the playoff games they play, given that those are historically linked directly to gate receipts. We don’t even know how many teams will make the playoffs.

I received a question about the timelines of Marco Luciano v. Kristian Robinson given that Luciano has been added to the taxi pool and K-Rob hasn’t. Specifically, @tommy? Wanted to know if this indicated Luciano might be ahead of K-Rob after 2020. 

I said “maybe” in the Twitter response but think the safer way to play 2020 is to ignore a good deal of what you feel about the taxi squads. Kristian Robinson might have the Diamondbacks trust enough that they know he’ll work well, and they know they won’t trade him or play him this year, so why not just let him work? And they have a different 2020 than San Francisco. Arizona clearly wants to win this year, given their Bumgarner and Gallen investments, and they have plenty of talent to do just that. They’re even set up well to maximize the new DH spot. Could be Kevin Cron. Jake Lamb. Josh Rojas. Seth Beer. Madison Bumgarner. (link)

I’m guessing the playoffs will be expanded in 2021 but have my doubts about 2020. On the other hand, money is real, and the owners want it. If they can find a way to make more playoff games happen, they will, and they’ll be dreaming of in-person ticket sales all the way. Might even ask the players to split some of their take on that to gain access to the TV money for 2020. 

The secret I teased in the opener is more of a whisper that might become a shout. 

2020 belongs to the rebuilders.

The short burst increases the per-game value of every quality veteran. 

And if you inherited an orphaned team this year, you’re in great position to infuse that roster with upside. 

I’ll have a trade podcast coming out this week, wherein my brother and I will discussing trades from top to bottom and spending a good deal of time on the advantages you gain from experiencing even one dynasty rebuild and the fun ways to go about maximizing the trade market and your roster spots as a team that doesn’t mind trading present for future. 


Targets for Rebuilding Dynasty Teams

Arizona OF Corbin Carroll was added to Arizona’s player pool but is unlikely to enhance his fantasy profile in the process. He’s ranked all over the place across various lists, creating a buying opportunity in the event that his current owner in your league doesn’t view him as the top 20 standard roto prospect he is. 

Texas C/OF Heriberto Hernandez is an ideal dynasty trade target. He’s currently a cheap date and should be one helluva good time over the long haul. 

 Milwaukee OF Hedbert Perez is on the trade block in one of my 20-team leagues. I’m about to make an offer. I’ll let you know how it goes. Trouble is it’s not a rebuild, and MLB spots are tight in that league. 

San Francisco OF Luis Matos is generating some buzz but still floating under the radar in terms of perceived value in trade. His value likely fluctuates a fair bit from league to league. 

Los Angeles OF Jake Vogel has me talking non-stop. He’s available now in open-universe and perhaps start-up leagues but can’t be added until First-Year-Player Drafts in most. 

Chicago Cubs RHP Cory Abbott is a buy because he’s probably free, and he’s got the talent and opportunity to make his name in 2020. Also the hair. 

Cleveland LHP Scott Moss: copy and past Abbott’s write-up but add the fact that he’s closer to his chance with better stuff in a better pitching organization and setting. 

San Diego SS Fernando Tatis Jr. would cost you a lot, but I’m not sure there’s a price too high right now. He’s still got some doubters helping to keep his cost in check, so it can’t hurt to make some aggressive offers now. 

Los Angeles Angels Demi God Shohei Ohtani is a value right now. He’s a top five player in daily leagues who’ll cost closer to someone in the 30 range because we fear the unknown. If you can offer a solid bat, a solid arm and a decent prospect, you might be in business. 

Pittsburgh SS Oneil Cruz is departing for take-off. Board now or miss most reasonably priced, socially distanced flights. 


Thanks for reading!

R.I.P. Fred Willard, Comic Genius

  1. Trying to answer a question about paternity leave in the age of Covid-19. Know that the 3-day leave remains in effect for expectant fathers…..but don’t know if new dads will have to isolate for 14-days upon return before rejoining their teams. Understand that not only Mike Trout but Bryce Harper and Gerritt Cole are all expecting new babies during the shortened seasons. If these guys have to isolate…..they could miss 25% of this shortened season. Am I crazy to be worried about this?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:

      Hi, Thomas,

      I don’t think that’s crazy at all.

      I’ve heard similar Trout worries elsewhere. I don’t think he’d have to isolate given MLB’s access to testing, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all.

  2. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:

    Great stuff Itch! What are your thoughts on a taxi prospect guy like J-Rod working his way into the starting lineup?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:

      Thanks, Duda!

      I don’t see the path for J-Rod short of a Mariner miracle season where they find themselves in contention medium late.

  3. Bret says:

    Would you trade Bryan Abreu for Heriberto?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:

      Hi, Bret,

      I’d be thrilled to make that trade!

  4. philip says:

    Excellent stuff as usual, Itch. These articles have really helped pass the months.

    Would you drop Jose Garcia, Erick Pena, or Jazz Chisholm for Heriberto? I’m in a deep rebuild that will probably take 3 years as I’ve traded most assets for young mlb players and prospects.

    Speaking of shortstops, who do you prefer in the long run, Garcia or Chisholm? Who’s ceiling is higher?


    • The Itch

      The Itch says:

      Thanks, Philip!

      Garcia v. Jazz feels like a toss-up, but I’ll go w Jazz at the moment.

      Man I hate the idea of dropping one of those guys, especially bc I think Jazz and Garcia could come up this year if it breaks their way.

      Do you need an active mlb guy in every mlb spot?

      If not, I’d be trying to drop or trade from the MLB side.

      Or maybe you can do something fairly clean like trading a pitching prospect for a draft pick?

      • Philip says:

        I hear you.

        Nobody is paying close attention right now, so trading anyone might be tough at the moment. It’s a good thought tho, and worth considering.

        My Mlb guys are B. Lowe, McMahon, Sano, L. Urias (also droppable), Verdugo, Dahl, Robles. Maybe drop Urias for Heriberto?

        I have Grayson Rodriguez, whom I know you don’t love, Jhoan Duran, and Simeon WR. Josh James, too.

        Ultimately, I have to cut my roster by 3 before next years draft, so I need to work a big 4:1 trade or risk cutting pretty decent players.

        I’m not sure where Heriberto fits into the mix.

        • The Itch

          The Itch says:

          Hopefully the interest ratchets up along with summer camp coverage.

          I’d be okay to drop Duran bc your options are limited and it seems like he might get ignored for a little while on that wire.

  5. Niceguybilly says:

    Fred Willard was gold. Best in show has to be one of the best comedies. “Let me ask you something, this may seem like a silly question, if you get a French dog, a Chinese dog, a German dog , do they all bark the same?”

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:

      Man I have to watch Best in Show this week!! Could really use the laughs

      Tough to tell what’s written and what’s improvised in a Guest film, but it’s safe to bet on improvised. This joke is pure genius.

      I was watching Mickey and the Roadster Racers with my 2-year-old the other day and wham, here’s Fred Willard voicing a dude asking Minnie and Daisy to watch his bed and breakfast while he heads to a weekend party. Brought life even to this generic cartoon side character who I sincerely hope has a recurring role in the Racers.

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