- MLB rejects players’ latest offer with no plans to send a counter
- League willing to negotiate about playing a 50-game season
- Unclear whether 2020 season will happen at all
The NBA, NHL, and MLS appear to be ready to return to action in July. Major League Baseball…not so much.
On Wednesday, MLB formally rejected the latest proposal from the MLB Players’ Association that called for a 114-game regular season with players receiving prorated salaries. The move came just a few days after the players countered the league’s initial offer to play an 82-game schedule with player salaries being determined by a sliding scale.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan says that despite rejecting the MLBPA’s latest offer, MLB has no current plans to send another counteroffer of their own. Needless to say, that’s very bad news for the prospects of a baseball season happening this summer.
Major League Baseball made official what was expected since Sunday in formally rejecting the MLB Players Association’s 114-game proposal, sources tell ESPN. MLB is not countering, which brings the possibility of it implementing a 50-game season into play. First: @Ken_Rosenthal.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 3, 2020
The two sides appear deadlocked, unable to come to terms on a solution. The 2020 season was originally scheduled to begin on March 26, but it has been postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
MLB Angling For 50-Game Season
The league told the players that it has already had preliminary discussions with team owners about the possibility of playing a shortened season in home stadiums without fans in attendance. The league is willing to talk to players about those ideas, but MLB appears reluctant to meet the players’ financial demands.
The players accepted a deal back in March that called for players to make a prorated salary in 2020 depending on the number of games played. The owners have tried to back out of that deal, however, as they claim the pact was made under the presumption that games would be held with fans in seats. Because owners are missing out on the revenues generated by having fans buy tickets, concessions, and merchandise, they are hesitant to pay their players even a prorated salary.
Major League Baseball is reportedly considering playing a season as short as 50 regular-season games. Ken Rosenthal says that it’s possible that the players could make more money playing around 80 games at a discount than they would playing 50 games with normal salaries.
Players Focused on Salaries
The amount of money they will make this season is the sole focus of the players in these negotiations, so it’s quite problematic that the league doesn’t seem willing to budge on the issue. The players’ union wants the league to honor the terms of the deal that was agreed upon in March.
The players may be flexible on the issue, though, and some believe the players would be willing to accept deferred money if it helped get the owners to relent.
MLB had been targeting an Opening Day around July 4, but with the way negotiations are stalling, that seems like a less likely outcome with each passing day. Players have said they would likely need as much as a month to train in order to prepare to play live games. It’s already June 3, and these negotiations seem to be going nowhere.
Commissioner Could Set Season Schedule
MLB believes the language in the agreed-upon deal from March gives commissioner Rob Manfred the power to determine the length of the 2020 schedule, as long as teams pay their players the prorated amounts that were promised.
While Manfred could take charge of the regular season, the players would shoot back and say that the commish does not have the authority to dictate how a postseason would play out. The original agreement stated, “The parties shall negotiate in good faith regarding potential one-time changes to the structure, format, qualification rules, or other similar rules regarding the 2020 postseason, which discussions shall include potential ways to expand the postseason beyond its current format.”
The players’ most recent offer included an expansion of the playoff field from 10 teams to 14.