It was touch-and-go for some time, but after an intense and, oftentimes, depressing back-and-forth, Major League Baseball’s owners and players finally came to a resolution and the season finally will commence on July 23. The owners got their shortened season down to 60 games while the players will receive their original pro-rated salaries from the first deal agreed upon back in late March.
Neither side has been deemed a winner as these negotiations leave yet another black eye on a sport desperately in need of some positive press. Nevertheless, fantasy baseball owners can chalk one up in the win column as we, at least, get to play a 2020 season, after all.
The victory is a small one as there have been a bevy of issues arising in fantasy leagues because of a shortened season. The debate over whether to re-draft some leagues persists while those who play in head-head formats are struggling to map out their own schedule issues, including when to start their playoffs. Be kind to your commissioners as they receive the unenviable task of finding a solution that will, undoubtedly, leave half the league disappointed. You can please some of the people some of the time.
About the only thing fantasy players can agree on right now is, if you already have drafted, that first waiver period could be a make-or-break situation for everyone. Whether you lost superstars such as Chris Sale and Noah Syndergaard or you ignored closers because you thought you could find saves on the waiver wire during a normal, 162-game season, you are going to have to make significant roster adjustments along with changes in strategy.
Step one will be to jettison the dead weight. Along with the variety of players who opted for season-ending surgery, you can start dumping those youngsters you were stashing for a second-half surge. Teams may be allowed to use players from a 60-man pool because of the cancellation of the minor league season, but many hopefuls, such as Rays uber-prospect Wander Franco or Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez won’t see a single inning of play despite their inclusion. They are there simply to work out with the big-leaguers and management will not want to start the arbitration clocks this year.
Once you have done a little weeding in your fantasy garden, you need to start filling your roster with players who will see time on the field. With the universal DH still in play, many NL part-timers such as Howie Kendrick and Austin Riley will see full-time at-bats. Middle relievers will have increased value as managers handle their starters with kid gloves. Talk of six-man rotations and tandem-pitchers has been abundant and that certainly will dilute the pitching pool.
If your commissioner left waivers wide-open all this time, you should have been making these moves just in preparation. So if you haven’t, start now. If you have a set date for the first waiver period, set a reminder in your phone because missing it could be catastrophic.
Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at Fantasy-Alarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 5-7 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy baseball advice.