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.
The MLBPA delivered a proposal to MLB on Sunday afternoon, a source familiar with it tells ESPN. It includes 114-game season that would end October 31, the right to opt out of the season for all players and potential deferral of salaries if 2020 the postseason were canceled.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 1, 2020
The inclusion of potential deferrals by players is an olive branch, even if it does apply just to a canceled postseason.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 1, 2020
It would defer $100M total, applied to players making $10M+ before proration, and would do so with interest to make players whole. It opens the door to more.
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:
Important note from the MLBPA's proposal. It has a season start date of June 30. Players want three weeks for training. Bake in a few days to travel to cities -- domestically and from around the world -- and for coronavirus testing. The point: a deal needs to get done this week.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 1, 2020
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.
“Non starter,” is the way one ownership person responded to the players’ response. The good news; There’s probably still a week to figure this out.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 1, 2020
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.