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More Marlins players test positive for COVID-19, per report

Things just keep getting worse and worse for the Marlins.

Miami Marlins v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Four more Marlins players have tested positive for COVID-19, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported Tuesday morning. Roughly half of the team’s 30-man roster is now compromised, as well as multiple coaches, after a massive outbreak that first became apparent during the team’s opening series.

The Marlins still haven’t left Philadelphia, where they played a three-game weekend series to open the season. But if and when they get the all-clear to leave, they’ll head to Baltimore, where they’re scheduled to play a two-game series against the Orioles in what was supposed to be a home-and-home set (which, considering the risks of travel right now, seems like questionable scheduling on MLB’s part). That ensures that tonight’s game against the Orioles in Miami will not be played, meaning the Orioles took a trip to a major virus hot spot for no reason.

Despite the fact that no players on the Phillies — the team that faced a virus-laden Marlins club on Sunday — have tested positive for COVID-19, they’ve also postponed a second straight game against the Yankees out of an abundance of caution.

Unless Marlins players were engaged in some seriously risky behavior away from the field, one would think this is probably a sign that MLB should have been more stringent in sticking to its initial health protocols that significantly cut down on time in the clubhouse (i.e. recomendations that players come to the ballpark already in uniform, avoid showering at the ballpark, and hold meetings outside whenever possible). While social distancing measures have been taken, it appears as if most major-league teams are generally taking a business-as-usual approach in the clubhouse, and it’s easy to see how the virus could spread quickly in a locker room.

MLB’s modified roster rules state that players on the COVID injured list do not count against the 40-man roster, so it would be rather easy for the Marlins to fill their major-league club with replacement players from their alternate training site and even minor-leaguers who did not participate in summer camp. There are two tricky parts to that solution: First and foremost, the delayed COVID-19 incubation period creates the possibility that someone currently testing negative could still have the virus and spread it among teammates, including the new additions to the roster.

Additionally, there’s no easy way for the Marlins to get all those replacement players off the 40-man roster if and when their sick players return. They’ll have to be designated for assignment or outrighted, though one would think a bunch of players who didn’t initially crack the 40-man roster of one of baseball’s lesser organizations wouldn’t have too much trouble passing through waivers when push comes to shove. It just seems like an unfair situation for both the players, who shouldn’t have to deal with the stress of going on waivers during a raging pandemic, and the front office, which risks losing organizational depth while it’s trying to keep the team functional during a virus outbreak that it has little control over.