Arizona GM, Mike Hazen, expects there to be an open competition for essentially all the bullpen slots this season, with recently acquired Joakim Soria providing a veteran voice among the young arms.
While teams will no longer be playing in a radically realigned league, the rest of the 2021 health and safety protocols look quite similar to those of last season. Two exceptions are, the universal _DH is gone, as is the expanded playoff field. Of course, with so much money on the line, those two items could still come into play between now and the beginning of the season.
One major difference for 2021 health and safety protocols is the existence of a COVID-19 vaccine. Players will be encouraged to get the vaccine when they can, but are not required to do so. They will be subject to non-disciplinary contact tracing and will need to mostly stay in their hotel rooms when on the road.
Inside the 2021 Heath and Safety Protocols (The Athletic)
Ken Rosenthal takes a deeper look at all the protocols surrounding both spring training and the regular season.
Other Baseball News
In an effort to curtail the exploding home run rate, MLB intends to deaden the ball somewhat for the 2021 season.
Related: By How Much is MLB Deadening the Ball? (The Athletic)
Just how much will the changes to the ball alter the game, especially compared to the last two seasons? That remains to be seen.
MLB Updates Harassment, Discrimination Policies (The Athletic)
The recent cases of Jared Porter and Mickey Callaway have spurred MLB to revisit and revise its policies on sexual harassment and discrimination.
While some divisions obviously look closer than others, no division in baseball has a clear-cut favorite, so say the pundits at MLB. I think some fans of the NL West may disagree.
With Milwaukee turning down their half of a mutual option, electing instead to pay a $4 million buyout, Ryan Braun is now a free agent. The embattled former-Brewer says he is not closing the book on playing again, but is not particularly interested in looking for a team right now, happy to stay home with his family. That’s probably for the best, since he might find the market less than inviting.
Here is the story of Joe Louis Reliford, a 12-year-old black boy who played in an organized game in 1952.