While Royals left-hander Mike Montgomery and his teammates train for a shortened 2020 season, Major League Baseball and the players' union continue to hold labor negotiations over a return-to-play framework.
There are complicated matters to be resolved for the league and the union to reach an agreement, including assurances for player health during the coronavirus pandemic and also details on the financial side.
MLB owners have proposed a plan that includes revenue sharing, which is a turn-off for a union that wants its players to work on prorated salaries that were agreed to in March -- before it was fully understood that fans wouldn't be in the stands, which has led to more concern from owners recently over a bigger financial hit.
With all that in mind, Montgomery remains optimistic that MLB will hold a 2020 season and provide a lift to the country.
"We got a lot of good, smart people that are going to lay out a strategy," Montgomery said on the McNeil & Parkins Show on Thursday afternoon. "I'm fully expecting to play this year. I'm rooting for it.
"It would be such a good opportunity for baseball right now to potentially provide that entertainment to America. If there's any way we can make this work, we got to do it."
"The second we can get something figured out, I'm going to be right there and ready to go. I think the overwhelming majority of players would be willing to go play."
Montgomery holds no ill will toward MLB owners and has tried to stay close with those parties before, but he also recognizes the issues his union is fighting for at the bargaining table.
"The safety is more important because I'd like to believe from the owners' standpoint, any half-season -- whatever it ends up being -- is better than no baseball," Montgomery said. "And I think as players, if we're going to be putting ourselves at risk, we (shouldn't) go and say we're going to give up more and more of our salaries when we're essentially being more and more at risk.
"There's a lot of smart people that are working on it. That's what makes me optimistic that we're going to come to a deal -- whatever it ends up being."
Traded from the Cubs to the Royals in 2019, Montgomery projects to start in Kansas City's rotation in 2020.
Montgomery notably recorded the save and the final out for the Cubs in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series.