Over the weekend, we got two days closer to the return of baseball. Right now, there are 19 days until the Cardinals face another team in a game that actually counts (and this series can mercifully come to an end). As the club was doing that, though, there were reminders that this season, while agreed on, isn’t 100% guaranteed by any means.
Genesis Cabrera and Ricardo Sanchez were announced as positive COVID-19 tests Saturday and Sunday brought word that Elehuris Montero had also received a positive test. All the players were asymptomatic, which is good, but that means they’ll be quarantined for a while until they can have two negative tests. Beyond that, there are a number of pitchers that still haven’t been able to take the field, whether it’s Giovanny Gallegos still trying to get in from Mexico or Carlos Martinez, who we know is in St. Louis but hasn’t been seen yet. Some of these guys might see the field early next week. Some might not.
For Sanchez and Montero, that’s probably fine. They aren’t likely to make the initial roster and they can hopefully get and stay healthy and work themselves into shape in Springfield until they might be called upon. However, people like Cabrera, Gallegos, and Martinez, among others, makes for a bit of a problem. Gallegos and Martinez especially were arms that the Cardinals were counting on for their main roster. If they aren’t going to be ready for Opening Day, that creates problems for Mike Shildt.
It may mean that some folks get a look a little earlier than expected. If someone like Zack Thompson could get through the test screen quickly, maybe he’d get to Busch and have a chance to make an impact. It feels like it’s going to matter, doesn’t it? When you look at the arms that are not in camp yet, it’s troubling from the baseball side of things (it’s obviously a health worry, but we can stipulate we’re always concerned about that issue). Even with expanded rosters, you need a lot of arms to cover these first few weeks. Early on, it’s not looking great in that regard.
There’s still a lot up in the air about the 2020 season. When you see how many cases there are in the various states, it’s worrisome. While death rates are down, there are still a good number of them every day. Looking at the chart, it looks like 300 is a low day, with 600-700 still fairly regular. The odds of a player dying from this are low, but the odds of someone related to the player or the virus spreading out from this concentration to someone more at risk are much higher. Plus we don’t know the aftereffects of this virus. Someone like Freddie Freeman, who has symptoms now, may find himself with shorter lung capacity in the future, which would harm his career.
Andrew Miller said on Sunday that there’s still some question that the season will come off as planned. I think every day, the club just has to take another step on the tightrope, hoping that today’s not the day it all falls apart. If they do that enough, maybe they can make it through the World Series. We’ll have to hold our breath and see.