We have yet another “final” proposal presented to the players association from MLB for a 2020 season calling for 72 games, 80 percent of prorated salaries, expanded playoffs, a July 14 season launch and a Sept. 27 end to the regular season, with an October World Series.
When compared to previous MLB offers, this offer ups the percentage of prorated salaries but decreases the number of games. (The constant, no matter how many games are proposed, is that owners are willing to pay around $1.25 billion in base salaries this season, with additional payments contingent on postseason play.) The last proposal from the players union called for an 89-game regular season ending on Oct. 11 and putting the World Series in November, with full prorated salaries. The union response: we will discuss it via conference call.
“This represents our final proposal for a 72-game season,” Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem wrote in a letter to union chief negotiator Bruce Meyer as reported by AP. “You should let us know by the end of the day on June 14 whether players desire to accept it.”
Manfred does have an ace up his sleeve: he and MLB owners believe that a 50-game season would appear to conform to a March agreement between players and owners that called for no salary cuts this season, and that Manfred has the power to implement that season without a final agreement with players after MLB has made good-faith efforts to launch the 2020 campaign. But one key difference between the two sides remain constant: MLB seeks to end the season with a traditional timeline in order to avoid a potential second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic expected by experts in November and December, while the players don’t see a potential second wave as a valid threat to a November postseason.
Still, there are some lesser issues where MLB and players have some level of agreement. Teams reportedly have been told to find a location within 100 miles of home ballparks for locating 20-25 or so players that would form a taxi squad, indicating agreement on roster sizes and payment of some sort for minor-league players, and both sides want to see additional money spent on social-justice initiatives.
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