Who are the favorites to sign Max Scherzer?

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Max Scherzer’s agent is Scott Boras, which means he probably won’t be signing anywhere quickly, but whenever the free agent ace does choose a long-term home Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com thinks it’ll be the Nationals, Yankees, Tigers, Cardinals, or Dodgers.

Rosenthal explains all of those inclusions, noting among other things that Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo originally drafted Scherzer while with the Diamondbacks and Scherzer is a St. Louis native. And then of course the Yankees and Dodgers are no surprise, and Scherzer has not ruled out re-signing with the Tigers.

For now at least there doesn’t seem to be a clear front-runner, although perhaps that just means Boras and Scherzer haven’t started trying to truly push for a deal yet.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.