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Morning Mound Visit: sabermetrics news - 2/29/20

Chris Sale comes down with pneumonia; exploring a Vancouver expansion team; MLB’s proposed playoff changes

MLB: Spring Training-Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

FanGraphs | Jay Jaffe: Chris Sale may have come down with pneumonia and not a physical injury, but it emphasizes how much the Red Sox have been missing him. He made just 25 starts last years and needed PRP injection to try to avoid Tommy John, and the team is hoping that won’t go the way of Luis Severino. Having lost both David Price and Mookie Betts in addition to an injury-riddled Sale could be a death blow in 2020.

The Athletic | Sean Fitz-Gerald ($): MLB officials were sent on a fact-finding trip to Vancouver, looking into the possibility of an MLB expansion team. It could be the DBacks if they opt out of their Chase Field lease, or a new team entirely that could at least in the short-term play at BC Place Stadium. Because nearly half of the population is keyed into MLB, most of Toronto, it’s considered an attractive spot for a future franchise.

ESPN Insider | Bradford Doolittle ($): With baseball’s new, proposed playoff changes that would add four playoff teams, it could lead to disastrous results. The average team added would have an 85-77 record, with quite a few teams that would literally be below .500. Adding teams could be good, but it shouldn’t be that much below 90 games if that’s the case.