MLB Rumors: Rob Manfred Told Teams To Plan On 162-Game Season

After playing a season under extraordinary circumstances, MLB was hopeful for a return to normalcy in 2021. Although that may not be the case — at least not to begin the season — the league is making every effort to accomplish as much.

The scheduled start of 2021 Spring Training is five weeks away, and while fans will be prohibited from watching workouts and receiving autographs, the expectation is camps Arizona and Florida will indeed open in February.

Meanwhile, Opening Day of the 2021 season is set for April 1. The Dodgers are due to begin their campaign as reigning World Series champions with a matchup against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.

Coming off a schedule that was shortened to 60 games, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred reportedly told teams the plan is to play a full season in 2021, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today:

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred informed clubs Monday that they should be preparing for spring training to start on time in February and to plan on a full 162-game season being played, three people with direct knowledge of the conference call told USA TODAY Sports.

Matters can certainly change between now and the scheduled start of the 2021 regular season, but every indication thus far is MLB plans to play 162 games. That stance is particularly supported by the MLB Players Association, which has continued to convey their expectation of Spring Training starting on schedule and to be followed by a full season.

What will be worth monitoring is decisions made across the markets on whether or not fans will be permitted to attend. The Dodgers aren’t likely to fall into that category in the early going, but president and CEO Stan Kasten is hopeful to open the doors at Dodger Stadium at some point this year.

Dodgers had highest payroll of 2020 season

Even with Manfred unilaterally imposing a shortened schedule and players’ pay being prorated, the Dodgers finished with the highest payroll in baseball last season. It will merely be a footnote, as no team was required to pay a luxury tax.

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