The impasse between Major League Baseball and its players over their discussions to restart training and the 2020 season was not resolved over the weekend. The union considered and temporarily held off voting whether to accept or reject the owner’s most recent offer of a 60-game season with an expanded, 16-team playoff slate and fully prorated salaries for the players. As we enter a new week without an agreement between the two sides and the players about to make a decision, here’s a quick rundown to again explain where we are in this process.
Where do things stand between the players and the league?
Not much changed this weekend other than some tweaks to the league’s latest offer, all of which revolved around the reemerging COVID-19 crisis in several states where MLB games are to be played. Essentially, the changes involved the players getting back some negotiating points if the shortened 2020 season is canceled — something that seems more possible than ever because of the virus. Because of the pandemic, it remains to be seen if any of the haggling matters.
The players still have to vote on the 60-game offer that has been on the table since last week. Despite those weekend tweaks to MLB’s offer, it’s doubtful to pass. But with so much changing daily, nothing would be a surprise. There is a sense that some younger players might want the deal for 60, but veterans see the bigger picture and will reject commissioner Rob Manfred’s proposal.
If the players accept the commissioner’s offer, what’s next?
They would still have to sign off on the health protocols regarding their own safety as the pandemic continues, but it’s possible that can happen almost simultaneously with the financial agreement. Training camps would reopen in a week or so, but this time in each team’s home city rather than in Arizona or Florida.
There was a possibility of some teams heading West and South, but now that those states are experiencing major COVID-19 outbreaks, more than likely almost all teams will train at home. One exception could be the Toronto Blue Jays.
With potentially only 60 games to play, a training camp would last at least three weeks with the regular season beginning in late July.
And if the players reject the proposal?
We’re not exactly back to square one, but we’re back to where we were a week ago when the players asked the commissioner “where and when”? At that point, Manfred might have to take a final vote of ownership on whether to play the season or not. He needs 75% of the 30 team owners to agree to play the season — in other words 23 have to sign off. Otherwise, there’s no baseball in 2020.