Detroit Tigers: Cancelled season would lead to plenty of questions

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

If the Detroit Tigers 2020 season is cancelled it leaves a ton of questions to be answered.

Since the 2020 MLB Draft has passed and the Detroit Tigers shift their attention to a return to play, things seemingly are pretty glum. With negotiations between the owners and Major League
Baseball Players’ Association halted, the chances for 2020 baseball are growing slimmer each day.

Commissioner Rob Manfred opened up the 2020 MLB Draft with statements about great hope for Major League Baseball and a return to play for the league; however, he walked back on these statements. Since then, Manfred is still optimistic, but the likelihood is decreasing as time goes on.

Playing out the worst-case scenario where the 2020 season is scrapped, it brings about a million different questions that are left unanswered, so here are a few that come to mind that I can offer an inference at based on the leagues’ current agreement and situation.

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What would happen to Detroit Tigers players’ contracts?

Given that the season could be scrapped and cancelled, it immediately raises questions about the contract status of players like C.J. Cron, Jonathan Schoop, and of course, Jordan Zimmermann.

Based on an initial agreement from the league and the MLBPA, the question has an answer.

The players would receive pro-rated wages and their service time (this impacts arbitration players more than the players mentioned), but this does not factor in any grievance from the MLBPA.

If there was a grievance that changes things, it seems there may be an almost “roster freeze” type of scenario.

In this case, players like Cron or Schoop would still play for the Tigers on their one-year contracts but in 2021 rather than 2020. There are a lot of league-wide consequences to this, but it is something the league could consider given that drastic measures are taken if it is cancelled.

It seems likely that, if the 2020 season is truly cancelled, the Tigers will lose out on the opportunity to see players like Cron and Schoop suit up for them, but it also means Zimmermann would be done and Miguel Cabrera would have a year knocked off his contract.

Back to back first overall selections for the Detroit Tigers is too good to be true.

The Tigers just selected third baseman Spencer Torkelson with the first overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, but what about the 2021 season? If the 2020 season is cancelled, seeding a draft order comes into question.

This means there is a small chance the Tigers could get back to back first overall selections. It sounds too good to be true and most likely is, but it has to sound pleasant to Tigers fans enduring this rebuild. Early thoughts would point to Vanderbilt products Kumar Rocker or Jack Leiter as the top pick.

In a more reality-filled world, the league would probably do some sort of a lottery for the pick. Best guess would be that 2019 postseason teams would not be included from the lottery, it would be 2019 non-postseason teams that would be in a lottery similar to what the National Hockey League (NHL) does.

Personally, it seems like a cancelled 2020 season would mean the Tigers get another top ten or better draft choice the following year in the 2021 MLB Draft, which again only helps the organization in the long run. Adding strong young talent will only do good things for the rebuild.

The Detroit Tigers minor league system is in trouble with a cancelled 2020 season.

This goes for all thirty Major League Baseball teams; the minor leaguers are in trouble. For those immersed in the sport, the minor leagues are in trouble, and they were in trouble well before COVID-19 decided to wreak havoc on the 2020 season.

If the 2020 season is cancelled the development plans for the Tigers prospects becomes less controlled by the organization and more on the individual, which could cause issues in the long run. Minor League Baseball has not officially cancelled its season, but with the big leagues on the brink of it, it would not be far behind.

The Tigers minor league system would be in trouble because some of the teams may be in danger of being cut or defunded with the league already planning to cut teams before this all happened. Keep in mind; the Tigers draft class only spanned six players, so the long term is weakened a little.

In the long term, the Tigers are not bringing in as many prospects as they usually do in the draft, which does not help the health of the affiliates. The minor leagues would be in trouble either way, but cancelling the 2020 season is only going to add to the plethora issues there already are.

With all this being said, there are plenty of questions across Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball that will come up if the 2020 season is cancelled. The Tigers will not be the only organization looking for answers, but things look as if there will be no baseball.

No baseball would mean that all of these questions become a reality and not just for teams like the Tigers. There would be plenty of unanswered questions that would need to be answered as the summer progresses into fall and 2020 ends, and 2021 begins.

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If the Detroit Tigers have their 2020 season cancelled, ultimately, it leaves a ton of unanswered questions waiting for answers.