While Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association work back and forth on trying to get the game of baseball back on the field, news came out of Clearwater regarding some Phillies players.  The news is something that has a chance to greatly affect these negotiations.   If players cannot be safe from Coronavirus, there might not be a path to play.

Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that eight members of the Phillies organization have tested positive for the COVID-19 Coronavirus:

Five Phillies players who had been training at the team’s facility in Clearwater, Florida have tested positive for coronavirus in recent days, multiple sources tell NBC Sports Philadelphia.

In addition to the five players, three staff members have tested positive. The identities of those infected is not known.

A significant number of team personnel are awaiting test results so it’s possible the outbreak could worsen.

The news comes as Florida announces a new daily total for new cases of the virus.

The state of Florida has come under great controversy in recent weeks.  Despite evidence to the contrary, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis put aggressive opening measures in place.  DeSantis said on Friday that the spike was the result of workers "packed like sardines" during their commute to agriculture jobs in the state.  But the New York Post reports that Florida has run out of ICU beds and is headed to be the next "epicenter" of the pandemic.

The Phillies had been planning, according to reports, to train in Philadelphia instead of Clearwater whenever players had the okay to return.  Pennsylvania is one of the few states to show a significant reduction in cases of Coronavirus.  But for players looking to work out before a deal, Florida may have been the best option at the moment.

The affected Phillies players and staff have not been named.

UPDATE: Phillies Issue Statement

In response to published reports and the questions that those reports have raised, the Phillies are confirming that 5 players and 3 staff members working at the club’s Clearwater facility have tested positive for Covid-19.
The first confirmed case occurred this past Tuesday, June 16. In addition, 8 staff members have tested negative for the virus, while 12 staff members and 20 players (both major league and minor league players) living in the Clearwater area are in the process of being tested and are awaiting the results of those tests.
Managing Partner John Middleton said, “The Phillies are committed to the health and welfare of our players, coaches and staff as our highest priority, and as a result of these confirmed tests, all facilities in Clearwater have been closed indefinitely to all players, coaches and staff and will remain closed until medical authorities are confident that the virus is under control and our facilities are disinfected.”
In terms of the implications of this outbreak on the Phillies’ 2020 season, the club declines comment, believing that it is too early to know.

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