Blue Jays: Mark Shapiro bracing for a longer layoff

It’s not the news we wanted to hear, but Mark Shapiro of the Blue Jays expects that it’ll be “months” before we see Major League Baseball being played again.

Right now we’re in the midst of a delay to the MLB season getting started, which is a particular bummer this week, as the regular season would have gotten underway on March 26th for the Blue Jays.

For the time being, all we can do is wait until there are more concrete updates from the league about when things might resume, and let’s face it, we may have to wait to see how bad the spread of the Covid-19 virus gets across North America before we really know what to expect.

To that end, what Blue Jays President and CEO Mark Shapiro said on Sunday should come as no surprise really, and he believes it’ll be “months” rather than “weeks” before baseball can resume. He obviously has next to no control over that, but his line of thinking is sound for a number of reasons.

As I’ve already mentioned, we don’t know how long this state of “social distancing” in North America could last, and that will be the biggest factor. Secondly though, the players will basically have to re-start their Spring Training regimen, which isn’t something that can be done in a couple of weeks, especially for pitchers.

“Knowing that so many players are not even having any access to throwing at all or hitting at all, but most importantly just throwing, and probably limited access to just training and exercise, it’s hard to imagine we could get ready in less than four weeks,”

Unfortunately, that’s a key factor right now. Not only are the players not playing semi-serious spring games right now, but many of them aren’t able to work out, or do much throwing at all. At this point, the work that was done in February to get ready for the season has basically been washed away, and players are going to need time to prepare their bodies again, even if they’re surely facing a reduced schedule for a typical 162 game season.

For his part, Shapiro seems to have a fairly good grasp on the situation at hand, at least as well as any of us do at this point,

“I do think that we’re, by and large, waiting for some sort of flattening of the curve and recognition that we have done our best to limit the strain on the health care system and the economic system. Until that time, the exact outcome and impact on our schedule, and all of the corresponding business that cascades off that, really can’t be determined.”

Next: Looking ahead to the 2021 free agent crop

With all of that in mind, Shapiro is likely correct that it “looks like we are not dealing with days and likely not weeks, but closer to months.” Here’s hoping we’re all pleasantly surprised.

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