Sources: MLBPA OK on return date, talking safety

The Major League Baseball Players Association has agreed to report to training camps by July 1 and play a 60-game season, but it is still discussing health and safety protocols with the league, sources confirmed to ESPN’s Jeff Passan on Tuesday.

The league’s owners voted Monday to implement a 60-game season that would begin around July 24. After the vote, MLB asked the union whether players would be able to report to training camps by July 1 and whether the union “will agree on the Operating Manual which contains the health and safety protocols necessary to give us the best opportunity to conduct and complete our regular season and Postseason.”

The union agreed to report to camps by July 1 but is still working through details of the health and safety protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic, sources said. CBS Sports first reported the agreement.

After nearly three months of fruitless negotiations, MLB opted to use the right given to it in the parties’ March 26 agreement to impose a schedule of its desired length. By choosing a season of 60 games, the league will pack in about as many games as it can through Sept. 27, the league’s self-imposed cutoff for the regular season to end.

Additionally, the 60-game season could serve as a buffer against a grievance by the MLBPA, which, in the case of a potential implementation, has been expected to charge the league with not fulfilling its duty to complete as full a season as possible. The league could file a grievance against the union as well.

Under the imposed season, players would receive the full prorated share of their salaries — about 37% of their full-season salaries and around $1.5 billion total. The postseason would remain at 10 teams. Players would not receive forgiveness on the $170 million salary advance they received as part of the March agreement and would get no money from the postseason. Players would not agree to wearing on-field microphones. Teams would not wear advertising patches on their uniforms. The universal designated hitter likely would remain in place, as it’s part of the health and safety protocol.

ESPN’s Jesse Rogers contributed to this report.