Daniel Hudson, who’ll be receiving a prorated portion of his $5M salary for the 2020 season if MLB can actually pull off its 60-game campaign, talked with his family about playing at all in the midst of a pandemic, and decided to go ahead and join the Washington Nationals for the start of Spring Training 2.0 earlier this month.
“We talked about it,” Hudson explained. “There was a long conversation that we had trying to figure out if and when, and if it made sense for me to opt out or not, but in the end we just made the decision that let’s just give it a go and see how it goes.”
The plan they came up with in the end is for Hudson to live in D.C. for the next two or three months while his family stays back at their home in Arizona.
“My family will not be here with me for most of the season,” he said. “They might come up for like a week next week, but then they’re just going to go back to Phoenix.”
Arizona is of course a hotspot for COVID-19 at the moment, but Hudson and his family got out of there just in time, apparently.
“We were on the East coast for a few weeks anyway, leading up to this, so we’ve been out of Phoenix.
“We got out of there I guess at the right time, and right when everything was spiking we went back and visited with some family back home.
“They’ve been on the East Coast for about a month now, and then they’re going to come up and visit for about a week and then head back.”
While being away from his family for that long is clearly not ideal, it’s nothing new for a lot of players, Hudson included.
“It’s tough, but it’s just part of it,” the veteran reliever said.
“It’s probably more difficult on my wife than anybody, having three kids under six by herself, but she was willing to make the sacrifice, and I felt like I needed to be here with the guys to to try to get this thing going.
“It’s nothing we haven’t been through before. I was without them for multiple months at a time last year, coming from Toronto and they were back in Arizona. Public schools open in July in Arizona, so where we live anyways, so I didn’t see them except for about a week for Labor Day last year anyway, and then they came obviously for the World Series.
“But that was about the only time I saw them all last summer, so it’s nothing we haven’t been through before.”
That doesn’t make it any easier, of course.
“It’s tough,” Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez acknowledged when asked about the choice he and his players had to make when they decided to participate in this season.
“I’m not going to lie to you. This is totally different for everybody.
“We’re making it a point for these guys that, ‘Hey, when you leave [the ballpark], you’re pretty much either going to a hotel, or you’re going to a place that you have, and you’re staying in.
“We’ve got guys cooking for us right now, we get to-go dinner for us, and we take it home and we put it in the oven or microwave whatever you guys do, and we eat it, but if we’re really going to do this and keep everybody safe, I tell these guys all the time, ‘You can’t be messing around. You’ve got to really take this seriously, because one, I don’t want to get sick, and two, I don’t want anybody else getting sick around here.’ So we’ve got to be smart about everything we do.”
There are elaborate protocols set up for testing and safety in the clubhouse, the dugout, on the field, and on the road when they start traveling for games, and in spite of some early in the process hiccups with testing and getting results in a timely manner, they’re going to do their best to pull this off and try to keep players, staff, and all of their families safe. Will it all work?
“I’m very optimistic,” reliever Will Harris said on Wednesday.
“I haven’t been given reason not to be I guess. I think it’s kind of one of those situations where it is what it is.
“We know that 2020 is going to look different. We’re going to be asked to do a lot of things that we aren’t normally asked to [do]. Everybody knows that, and I’m still here showing up every day, so I’m telling everybody that I’m willing to do it. And I think everybody in there is also willing to do it, and put the time and the effort in to make sure this thing gets off the ground and then stays off the ground.”