Major League Baseball took one step closer toward a potential return when team owners collectively agreed on a proposal for the 2020 regular season. The plan has since been sent to the Players Association, whom must now give final approval.
The two sides discussed health protocols at length earlier in the week, including how often players will be tested over the course of the regular season. The plan is for players to be administered multiple tests per week and receive results within 24 hours.
The samples will reportedly be sent to a Utah lab, who is also working with MLB to expand its testing capability for the general public.
During an appearance on CNN’s “Global Town Hall,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was cautiously optimistic he’ll be able to convince most players to return for a potential 2020 season, but noted he wouldn’t force them to play against their will:
“We hope that we will be able to convince the vast, vast majority of our players that it’s safe to return to work. The health-related protocols for returning to play are about 80 pages in length. They are extraordinarily detailed. They cover everything from how the players would travel on private charters, how those charters have to be cleaned, who has access to the ballpark, tiering of employees so even those people in the ballpark will be isolated in general from the players.
“So we hope we’ll be able to convince them that it’s safe. At the end of the day, however, if there are players with health conditions or just their own personal doubts, we would never try to force them to come back to work. They can wait until they feel they’re ready to come.”
Even if MLB is able to put together a viable plan to ensure players’ health, a potential 2020 campaign will likely come down to whether both sides can agree on the financials.
Team owners reportedly want the union to accept a 50-50 revenue split this year, while players have maintained they won’t accept anything less than the prorated salaries they were guaranteed in March.
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