The Blue Jays are playing a man down due to a dumb roster rule

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Blue Jays reliever reliever Aaron Loup had a family emergency that caused him to miss Game 4 of the ALCS yesterday and Game 5 today. That leaves the Jays one man short. Why? Because there is no bereavement leave in the playoffs.

As Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post explains, the Jays even petitioned the league to allow them to put Loup on the disabled list. They did this knowing that, if he was DL’d, he’d be lost for the World Series if the Jays get that far too. That rule makes sense in that it keeps teams from making phony DL designations.

The no bereavement rule, however, doesn’t make a lot of sense. Perhaps it’s there in order to prevent roster shenanigans as well, but this isn’t middle school and no one is going to lie about their grandmother dying or come back with a phony excuse note signed “Epstein’s Mother’s Doctor.” In this day and age such a thing would not be able to be kept a secret either, and any team which tried to game the bereavement list in the playoffs would have to deal with a huge fallout. It’s just not worth it and is pretty self-policing, one would think.

A team should be allowed to replace a player if real life intrudes and deprives them of his services. Here’s hoping Major League Baseball revisits this rule.

MLB and MLBPA announce first set of COVID-19 test results

MLB COVID-19 test results
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images
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On Friday evening, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced the first set of results for COVID-19 testing as part of the mandatory intake screening process under MLB’s COVID-19 Health Monitoring & Testing Plan. Per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Athletics are not part of this data because their testing has not yet been completed.

There were 38 positive tests, accounting for 1.2% of the 3,185 samples collected and tested. 31 of the 38 individuals who tested positive are players. 19 different teams had one or more individuals test positive.

Sports Illustrated’s Emma Baccellieri notes that the positive test rate in the U.S. nationally is 8.3 percent. The NBA’s positive test rate was 7.1 percent. MLB’s positive test rate is well below average. This doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is wrong with MLB’s testing or that it’s an atypical round of testing. Rather, MLB’s testing population may more closely represent the U.S. population as a whole. Currently, because testing is still somewhat limited, those who have taken tests have tended to be those exhibiting symptoms or those who have been around others who have tested positive. If every single person in the U.S. took a test, the positive test rate would likely come in at a much lower number.

Several players who tested positive have given their consent for their identities to be made known. Those are: Delino DeShields (link), Brett Martin (link), Edward Colina, Nick Gordon, and Willians Astudillo (link). Additionally, Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodríguez has not shown up to Red Sox camp yet because he has been around someone who tested positive, per The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey.