Phillies: Pros and cons of MLB’s proposed 50-game season

Zack Wheeler, Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Zack Wheeler, Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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Phillies’ pros and cons for a potential 50-game 2020 season

Could Phillies baseball take place this summer? Chances appear to be improving.

Over the past 48 hours, both the MLBPA and MLB issued counterproposals, representing a step closer to an agreement of having a 2020 season. The latter, reported Monday evening by ESPN’s Jeff Passan, has MLB proposing a shorter season while fulfilling the players’ desire to have full prorated salaries.

MLB believes their agreement in late March allows it to set the schedule. “For the longest time, really since the end of March, when their agreement was put into place, players have been asking for their full pro rata salary,” Passan said live on ESPN. “A 50-something game season, Major League Baseball would be willing to do to get them there.”

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So, say the 2020 season is indeed 50 games. How does that benefit or hurt the Phillies? Here are a few pros and cons:

Early-season success

The Phillies may have not qualified for the postseason in nearly a decade, but often, they have began their recent seasons on a strong note before utimately struggling down the stretch.

Last year, for example, the Phillies were 31-22 after 53 games and let the division by 1 1/2 games, notes CBS Sports’ Danny Vietti. Then, they had the third-best record in the National League and would have played the NLDS opposite the Chicago Cubs, while the Los Angeles Dodgers took on the Wild Card winner.

Less Games, More Nola and Wheeler?

One would think having less games would be a bad thing for a Phillies starting rotation that has a lot of question marks outside of their Nos. 1 and 2 arms, Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler.

But not necessarily.

Having just 50 games could mean MLB spacing the schedule out, more or so like what the NBA season has been in recent years with less back-to-back games.

With each game meaning that much more, the Phillies could use Nola and Wheeler on short rest. Even then, it might not be the CC Sabathia-type of short rest that we saw in the Milwaukee Brewers’ 2008 postseason run.

Nola and Wheeler could be used on just one day fewer rest, just because the schedule would be that much more spaced out. Surely, the Phillies will need Jake Arrieta to contribute in his final contract year, as well as Zach Eflin and others to step up.

Less Chance for Injury

Having fewer games, as mentioned above, would likely mean a more spaced out season. There would not be a daily grind on players’ bodies as does a normal 162-game slate.

Jay Bruce, who put up All-Star numbers when we first joined the Phillies, simply tired out before landing on the injured list with an oblique strain and a flexor strain.

David Robertson, who in February said he was aiming for a mid-season return from Tommy John surgery, may in fact be ready come Opening Day. And, you know Joe Girardi would like using his former right-handed pitcher on the 2009 Yankees World Series team a lot.

Hamstring issues affected the Phillies a lot last season, including Jean Segura. As long as the players are in shape, their bodies should be able to fend off these types of injuries in a shortened, spaced out season.