Does An MLB Team Have A Moral Obligation To Not DFA Players Right Now?
Before yesterday’s game, the Mets designated Tyler Bashlor for assignment to add David Peterson to the 30 man roster. With the Mets needing a starter and Peterson not on the 30 or 40 yet, the Mets needed to make this move to add him. Looking at the Mets roster, you can certainly make the case Bashlor was the player who should have been designated for assignment.
However, with all that is happening right now, it is fair to ask whether the Mets did the right thing by designating Bashlor for assignment.
Baseball is a business, and there are always tough decisions to make. The Mets made one of them, and on paper, it made sense. However, when you look at what is happening with the Miami Marlins, you do wonder if morally it was the right move to put Bashlor in a precarious situation.
The Miami Marlins have seen over half their roster test positive for COVID19. This has put the Marlins in a precarious spot as they don’t know when their players will be able to return to play. As such, they are in the position where they basically have to go out and claim nearly every player who is put on waivers. With one of the things the Marlins desperately need is pitching, Bashlor may soon have to make a decision.
If the Marlins claim Bashlor, he is going to have to decide between going to a Marlins team we all know is infected with COVID19 or opting out of the season. If he opts out for the season, there is a possibility his MLB career is over, which is something players like Brock Holt have spoken about when begrudgingly deciding to play.
That is an awful situation for a player. On the one hand, he may have to pick playing for a team and exposing himself to a virus which has created long term health issues for other player. On the other, his career, the thing he has worked for his entire life, could be gone. It’s why we see players like Chase d’Arnaud sending out tweets saying he is available to play.
— Chase d'Arnaud (@chasedarnaud) July 29, 2020
In the end, Bashlor may have a decision to make. Maybe for him it is an easy one to make. Maybe, it isn’t. Where his mind is doesn’t necessarily change the fact having to choose between health and a career is a very difficult decision, and you don’t want to have to see people grapple with a decision like that.
You have to assume general managers across baseball are aware of this. When Bashlor was released, Brodie Van Wagenen had to know he was potentially sending him to the largest COVID19 hotbed in not just Major League Baseball, but also the country. You’d like to think Van Wagnenen at least struggled with the decision.
In the end, designating a player like Bashlor for assignment was the right thing to do in terms of baseball. In terms of what is ethical and moral, it is a real gray area which honestly probably does not have a definitive right or wrong answer.
After all, by designating Bashlor for assignment, he is being given the opportunity to go somewhere else to have a chance to play and succeed. That aspect cannot be ignored. For that matter, the pandemic cannot be ignored either, and as we are seeing with the Marlins, this pandemic doesn’t care if this is your chance to prove yourself. It just infects you.
That leaves the rest of baseball wondering if it is worth being on the same field as you. The Washington Nationals voted to not play the Marlins. Soon, Bashlor may have to decide if he wants to pitch for the Marlins or go home, possibly forever.
That’s the situation the Mets have put him in by designating him for assignment. That’s why it is at least fair to ask whether the team should’ve considered the ramifications of their decision and whether they should have kept him for those very reasons.