Thursday, July 23, 2020

MLB Names 7 Interim Crew Chiefs for 2020

Major League Baseball named seven interim crew chiefs for the COVID-shortened 2020 season. Angel Hernandez, suing MLB under charges of race discrimination, is one of them.

Earlier this summer, umpires deemed "high-risk" of complication related to contracting coronavirus were offered the opportunity to opt-out of the 2020 season, at full pay. Umpires not designated as high-risk were still offered the ability to sit out, but as an unpaid option.

Though high-risk crew chief Joe West outspokenly decided to work the 2020 season, nine other umpires who ordinarily serve in full time crew chief roles took MLB's opt-out option, including Gerry Davis, Fieldin Culbreth, Kerwin Danley, Brian Gorman, Tom Hallion, Sam Holbrook, Jerry Layne, and Mike Winters.

Chiefs West, Ted Barrett, Jeff Nelson, Bill Miller, Larry Vanover, Jerry Meals, Mark Wegner, Alfonso Marquez, Jim Reynolds, and Dan Iassogna reportedly did not opt out, all in all leaving open a handful of crew chief vacancies for appointment.
Related PostJoe West Opts In, Several Crew Chiefs Out for 2020 (7/7/20).

Non-crew chiefs electing to sit out 2020 include Scott Barry, Phil Cuzzi, Bruce Dreckman, and Brian O'Nora, bringing the total number of opt-outs to 13. We first started tracking umpires reporting to summer camp (as well as those opting out) on July 15. The 2020 staff is similarly expected to be regionally based.
Related Post2020 MLB Summer Camp (Spring) Roster (7/15/20).

With Greg Gibson and Paul Emmel beginning the season on the Injured List, MLB has had to make some cuts. Amongst those are a reduction in crews from 19 to 17—you'll recall that in 2014, MLB expanded the crews to account for expanded instant replay. Even though Replay Review is expected to operate in 2020, the two extra crews were contracted for the COVID season.
RelatedConfirmed: MLB Hires 7 New Umpires to Full-Time Staff (1/14/14).

With eight crew chiefs out, MLB designated the following longtime umpires interim crew chiefs for the 2020 season:
> Mark Carlson
> Laz Diaz (delayed)
> Angel Hernandez
> Marvin Hudson
> Ron Kulpa
> Paul Nauert
> Bill Welke

Hernandez, and the others, thus will host their own crews for the 2020 campaign, meaning the original 2020 crew list, which placed umpires such as Hernandez and West on the same crew, is likely out and scrambled.

Other pairings we likely will not see due to opt-outs and interim quasi-promotions include the originally scheduled one-two combos, taken from the original 2020 crew list (opt-outs and injuries in strikeout, crew chiefs in bold textinterim promotion to chief in bold underline):

Crew 1: Davis - Carlson - Hoye - Hoberg.
Crew 2: West - Hernandez - Bellino - Hamari.
Crew 3: Layne - G Gibson - Little - Visconti
Crew 4: Gorman - Welke - Johnson - Blakney.
Crew 5: Hallion - Cuzzi - Knight - Ripperger.
Crew 6: Winters - Wendelstedt - Muchlinski - Lentz.
Crew 7: Culbreth - Nauert - Bucknor - Reyburn.
Crew 8: T Barrett - Foster - Conroy - Segal.
Crew 9: Nelson - Diaz - Fletcher - Scheurwater.
Crew 10: Miller - Eddings - Drake - Whitson.
Crew 11: Vanover - Hudson - Carapazza - Rackley.
Crew 12: Meals - Hickox - Baker - Morales.
Crew 13: Emmel - O'Nora - Dreckman - Blaser.
Crew 14: Holbrook - Wolf - Gonzalez - Wolcott.
Crew 15: Wegner - Guccione - Porter - Estabrook.
Crew 16Danley - Kulpa - Fairchild - Barry.
Crew 17: Marquez - Timmons - L Barrett - Torres.
Crew 18: Reynolds - Randazzo - Tichenor - T Gibson.
Crew 19: Iassogna - Barksdale - Tumpane - De Jesus.

The crews will be reworked based on regional necessity and the end result will look different than originally scheduled several months prior.
Related Post2020 MLB Umpire Crews (Delayed Season) (5/6/20).


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