After signing a two-year, $21 million contract with the Mets over the winter, Michael Cuddyer struggled to the tune of a .244/.294/.367 batting line during the first half while dealing with a nagging injury to his left knee. The All-Star break gave the 36-year-old some time to rest, but he’s being benched in favor of Kirk Nieuwenhuis tonight against the Cardinals. And his outlook for the second half doesn’t sound particularly promising.
Cuddyer is healthy enough to remain on the active roster, but it’s not like he has done much good when he’s in the lineup on a regular basis, so he’s at risk for falling into a part-time role at the very least. This approach might help him manage the injury and be more productive when he does play, but it’s not exactly what the Mets had in mind when they gave up a first-round pick to sign him over the winter.
While Nieuwenhuis hit three home runs in the final game before the All-Star break, he can’t be considered a legitimate answer for a corner outfield spot. The Mets are right in the thick of things for a chance to make the postseason, so it will be interesting to see if they finally answer the fans’ pleas to acquire a big bat in a trade leading up to July 31. Promoting prospect Michael Conforto is another possibility, though the team appears against that idea for now.
Matt Spiegel of 670 The Score Chicago heard from a source that Major League Baseball executives have been discussing a 100-game season that would begin on July 1 and conclude on October 15. It would essentially pick up the second half schedule, eliminating the All-Star Game while hosting the World Series at a neutral warm-weather stadium — ideally Dodger Stadium.
In the event the Dodgers, who won 106 games last year, made it all the way through the playoffs, the World Series would be hosted in Anaheim or San Diego. The earlier rounds of the playoffs would be played in the cities of the teams involved, which might be tough since the postseason would extend into November.
Spiegel went on to describe this vision as “an absolute best case scenario,” and that’s accurate. In order for the regular season to begin on July 1, the players would need to have several weeks if not a full month prior to get back into playing shape — more or less an abbreviated second spring training. And that would mean the U.S. having made significant progress against the virus by way of herd immunity or a vaccine, which would allow for nonessential businesses to resume operations. The U.S., sadly, is faring not so well compared to other nations around the world for a variety of reasons, but all of which point to a return to normalcy by the summer seeming rather unlikely.
Regardless, the league does have to plan for the potential of being able to start the regular season this summer just in case things really do break right and offer that opportunity. Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated multiple times about the league’s need to be creative, referring to ideas like playing deep into the fall, changing up the location of games, playing without fans in attendance, etc. This rumor certainly fits the “creative” mold.