MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and MLBPA executive director Tony Clark had a face-to-face meeting Wednesday in Arizona, and while the two sides have not yet come to an agreement, the two sides appear to be much closer to a deal for a shortened 2020 season than they’ve been at any point since talks began. MLB has reportedly submitted a formal proposal to the players’ union for a 60-game season with full prorated salaries, expanded playoffs, and the union waiving its right to file a grievance against the league. Numerous reporters, including ESPN’s Jeff Passan, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, were all over the news on Wednesday:
Breaking: MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and players union chief Tony Clark had what’s being called a productive meeting face to face in Arizona. Meeting was called at Manfred’s request— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 17, 2020
Major League Baseball has sent a new proposal to the MLB Players Association, sources tell ESPN. No deal is done, but with Rob Manfred and Tony Clark having met, this is seen as significant progress considering where the parties were 48 hours ago.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 17, 2020
The MLB proposal to the MLBPA, as @Ken_Rosenthal said, is for a 60-game season that ends around Sept. 27 and gives players fully prorated salaries. It would have expanded playoffs and would include waiving of right to grieve by the union.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 17, 2020
While there is no deal yet between the two sides, a statement from Manfred released Wednesday afternoon certainly projects a more encouraging tone than the commissioner’s other recent statements:
Rob Manfred just issued the following statement. pic.twitter.com/0AbaT3AlCJ— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) June 17, 2020
MLB really has no chance of capturing all the goodwill it had among fans before this whole debacle, but any version of a 2020 season would certainly go a long way towards reinvigorating fans, easing the relations between the two sides in advance of their next CBA negotiation, and preserving players’ careers which otherwise may have been ruined by a full year (or more) of inactivity brought on by the combination of the COVID-19 shutdown and the potentially washed out 2020 season.