baseball

“Tell Us When and Where”: MLBPA Rejects MLB’s Latest Offer and Asks MLB to Set the 2020 Schedule

The long and short of it, the Major League Baseball Players Association has recently rejected Major League Baseball’s latest return-to-play offer. The

Background

We all know that the baseball season was originally set to start on March 26 if not for the novel coronavirus which sent players and audiences packing for home. When COVID-19 hit U.S. shores during the first quarter, MLB announced on March 12 that they are canceling the rest of the spring games and that the season start will be delayed by a couple of weeks.

A few days after that announcement was made, the league made a follow-up announcement that they are postponing the 2020 season indefinitely in accordance with the CDC’s recommendations that public gatherings be limited to only a maximum of 50 people in attendance for the next eight weeks.

This is the first time that the league has been put on hold since the September 11 terror attacks. The locker rooms have been vacated and the radar gun for baseball put away.

Before the announcement was made, the league already had everything planned out. The regular season was set to start on July 14 and end on September 27 with the postseason slated to begin on September 29. October 20 was to be the first day of the World Series which could see a game 7 on October 28. The

Pandemic Dilemma

 

Since the global health scare put pretty much everything on hold, including baseball season, a huge majority of the league has been anxious to get back to work and start playing (and earning) again.

In late March, the MLB and MLBPA reached an agreement for the season’s delays considering multiple factors.

Negotiations between the owners and the players’ union have gone back-and-forth for the past few weeks.

  • May 26 – The MLB proposed an 82-game season with a sliding salary scale.
  • May 31 – The MLBPA countered with a proposal for a 114-game season with full prorated salaries and possible deferrals.
  • June 1 – The MLB expressed a willingness to pay full prorated salaries for a 48- to 54-game season.
  • June 8 – The MLB offered a 75% prorated salary at 76 games.
  • June 9 – The MLBPA asked for prorated salaries for an 89-game season.

Although the exchanges have sometimes become very heated, the league and the players have also come to terms with certain notable components that both parties fully agree with, such as:

  • Highest standards of health and safety measures for the team and its personnel
  • A bigger roster of up to 30 active players and a taxi squad of 20
  • A universal designated hitter
  • Reduced travel via regional schedules
  • Expanded playoff season

Following these negotiations, the most recent proposal came from MLB for a 72-game season that will start approximately on July 14 where players will receive 70% prorated salaries for the regular season, and expanded playoffs to as many as eight per team.

The proposal, however, was not well-received by the MLBPA.

Tony Clark, the union’s executive director, issued a statement after the proposal was made. He is quoted as saying “it appears further dialogue with the league would be futile.” He invited MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to just schedule as many games as the league sees fit as indicated in the March agreement where the commissioner has the authority to unilaterally schedule a season for as long as the players receive their full prorated pay.

If the MLB decides to go down that route, Clark has requested that they are informed of how many games they intend to have, and when and where the players should report.

Bruce Meyer, an MLBPA negotiator, wrote a letter to MLB saying that it is unfair to leave everyone hanging — both players and fans alike — at this point and demanded that the union be informed of their plans by end-of-day on June 15.

Although the deadline set is somewhat superficial as neither party has the ability to impose, much less meet, a hard deadline, each day that passes means another wasted day that could have seen games played.

While there are a lot of other factors going on in these negotiations, the rest of America can only wait and see how this new soap opera will unfold in the coming days. It is highly likely that Manfred and the league will be left with no choice but to schedule a 48- to 54-game season as that’s all they have left. Guess we’ll just have to see how things will play out in the next few days.

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