Podcast: Time Is of the Essence for MLB

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As the sports world comes to a standstill, Major League Baseball, like every other professional sports organization, has a never-ending list of challenges to tackle.

Senior Writer Tom Verducci joined SI's Coronavirus + Sports podcast to discuss the pandemic's ramifications on baseball. MLB officially delayed its season two weeks, hoping to still cram in a full 162-game schedule, but that possibility seems increasingly impossible.

What issues are facing the sport? The league and players association must come to an agreement on service time, a measurement that essentially dictates how much players are paid. Accruing more service time unlocks more rights (free agency being the most lucrative) and anything less than a full season disrupts the usual build of service time.

Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts, for example, is slated to become a free agent at the end of the 2020 season so long as he accrues 102 days of service time this season (per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal). Theoretically, Betts's free agency would be jeopardized if MLB has to endure a significantly shorter season. That's why the MLBPA will fight to ensure players' service time rights are maintained despite what inevitably will be a shortened season.

Among others issues facing the sport include minor league pay, taking care of seasonal ballpark workers and how a shortened season might be constructed. Verducci discusses these topics and more on Coronavirus + Sports.