Nationals players vote
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‘Vast majority’ of Nationals players vote against making road trip to Miami

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The Washington Nationals are scheduled to play a three-game series against the Marlins in Miami this weekend. The same Marlins who, as you know, are having a thing at the moment. The Nationals, however, don’t wanna go: Ken Rosenthal just reported that “In team vote, vast majority of Nationals players voted against going to Miami for three-game series this weekend.

This is a massive problem for Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball.

To be clear: pursuant to the March Agreement and the later MLB-MLBPA agreed-upon health and safety protocols, teams do not have the power to simply not play games if they think it’s unsafe. That power rests with Rob Manfred and the clubs. If the Nationals players vote leads to them deciding to simply not get on the bus to the airport after their game against the Blue Jays on Thursday evening, they will technically be engaging in a wildcat strike.

To which I say: good for them.

As we’ve noted in the past twenty four hours, Major League Baseball seems to have abdicated its role in making these sorts of decisions. The Marlins, as has been reported, decided to play on Sunday over a group text. Since then baseball has reacted, postponing some games, but it’s not at all clear what philosophy is guiding them. If the Nationals players do not feel safe playing that series, they should not play that series. If it takes them making that decision for themselves rather than waiting for Major League Baseball to do so, so be it.

In the meantime, the Nationals players vote creates a massive problem for Rob Manfred. If he orders the Nationals to play in Miami regardless of their feelings on the matter, he’ll look like a dictator who cares little for player health and will lose whatever confidence the players have in him. If he allows the Nationals to sit out the trip, on the other hand, he has formally ceded his power over the schedule to the rosters of the thirty teams.

Where I think this goes in the next couple of days is a great many conference calls after which some sort of compromise is announced that allows this all to look like the league is handling this pursuant to a plan. But make no mistake, the fact that a team is voting on whether to play games or not — and the fact that they’re leaking that fact to the press — is strong evidence that there is no plan here at all. Or, at the very least, that the players do not have confidence in whatever plan exists.

UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal reports that MLB is brainstorming their way around this:

Such a plan would serve to validate the Nationals’ vote, at least in effect.

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”