Whatever progress that may have been made earlier this week when Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred and Players Association executive director Tony Clark met in Arizona has all but come undone in the days since.
The league presented the union with an offer for the 2020 regular season that encompassed playing 60 games, an expanded postseason and universal designated hitter for 2020 and 2021, among other details.
The MLBPA then submitted a counter for 70 games, much to the chagrin of team owners who inexplicably were under the impression that an understanding had been reached for a 60-game schedule this year. Conventional wisdom held the two parties would manage to split the difference.
However, the union announced the league does not intend on presenting their own counteroffer. “MLB has informed the Association that it will not respond to our last proposal and will not play more than 60 games,” the MLBPA said in a statement.
“Our Executive Board will convene in the near future to determine next steps. Importantly, Players remain committed to getting back to work as soon as possible.”
It may be considered an unlikely scenario, MLB and the MLBPA could technically enter into another round of what’s been nothing short of contentious negotiations.
Should Manfred instead elect to impose a 2020 season — authority he has as part of the March 26 agreement that has been the source of acrimony — it’s presumed to be in the neighborhood of 50 games. Although it would be for full prorated salaries, the MLBPA would likely file a grievance.
But before Manfred can exercise that authority, there is still the need for an agreement to be reached on health and safety protocols. The guidelines are all the more imperative in light of recent spikes in multiple states.
To this point every indication, including from Manfred himself, has been that the league and union were nearing an agreement on that front. MLB provided the Players Association with a 67-page document that outlined the proposed changes, and much of the feedback received was signed off on by the league.
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