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MLBPA submits proposal for shortened 2020 season to owners, per report

Owners are already ripping this proposal, which doesn’t seem to bode well for the chances of baseball returning in 2020.

New York Yankees v Detroit Tigers Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Nearly a week after ownership presented an initial plan to the MLB Players’ Association for a potential shortened 2020 season, the players responded with their own proposal on Sunday night, as ESPN’s Jeff Passan was among those to report.

The players’ proposal features some major changes from the plan ownership presented:

  • As had previously been speculated about, the players’ proposal features a significantly longer season — a 114-game slate that would start earlier (late June) and end later (late October) than the 82-game season laid out in the owners’ proposal.
  • It features the option to not participate for any player who prefers to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic, with certifiably at-risk players being paid and those who are simply being cautious only receiving service time.
  • Players would receive a total of $100 million in advances during the second spring training.
  • 2020 salaries would be deferred if the postseason was to be canceled due to a second wave of COVID-19.
  • The playoffs would be expanded in both 2020 and 2021.

Two nuggets from national reporters illustrate the growing possibility that there may not be a 2020 season, even after things seemed to be looking up over the last month with the nation beginning to get its health crisis somewhat under control and businesses adjusting to a new normal. First of all, Passan pointed out that a deal will need to get done very soon if a season is to be played:

Secondly, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported that an anonymous “ownership person” called the proposal a “non starter,” certainly an ominous sign since Nationals ace Max Scherzer said earlier this week that the players absolutely would not accept further pay cuts from the prorated salaries they agreed to back in March.

On the bright side, the league’s initial proposal seemed to sway so far in the owners’ interest that there was no chance the union would actually accept it, so perhaps the players felt compelled to do the same thing with their initial ask. This way, both sides very clearly articulate their desires to each other, and with the initial exchange out of the way they can now begin earnest negotiations and try to compromise.

With that said, time is quickly running out for a deal to be reached, and the sides don’t seem to be close by any stretch of the imagination right now. They’ll undoubtedly try to get something done until there’s absolutely no time left, but at this point fans should probably prepare for the possibility that NPB, KBO, and the CPBL are going to provide the only baseball we’ll see this year.