Major League Baseball should be on the verge of beginning its 2020 regular season after a three-month layoff due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but instead, team owners and players are fighting over financials.
The two sides have been going back and forth for weeks now with no signs of an agreement in sight. Under the league’s latest proposal, the players would get up to 80% of their prorated salaries for a regular season in the neighborhood of 72 games and if the entire playoffs could be held.
That was a counterproposal to the MLB Players Association, who went down from 114 to 89 games in their previous offer but maintained they want full prorated salaries.
With the two sides not getting any closer to a deal, the MLBPA told the league that they will not be sending any more proposals and they are waiting for commissioner Rob Manfred to implement a season of his choosing, which would likely be much shorter at around 48 games.
Because of Manfred’s ability to do that, he said last week that he could guarantee a 2020 season would take place despite the bitter negotiations.
It seems he is no longer certain that will be the case though, via Jeff Passan of ESPN:
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN on Monday he’s “not confident” there will be a 2020 baseball season and that “as long as there’s no dialogue” with the MLB Players Association, “that real risk is going to continue.”
In a conversation with Mike Greenberg for ESPN’s “The Return of Sports” special, Manfred walked back comments made to ESPN last week, when he said “unequivocally we are going to play Major League Baseball this year” and pegged the likelihood at “100%.”
“I’m not confident. I think there’s real risk; and as long as there’s no dialogue, that real risk is gonna continue,” Manfred said when asked if he was confident there would be a season.
Manfred added that he understands how bad this looks and remains committed to figuring it out so there is a season:
“It’s just a disaster for our game, absolutely no question about it. It shouldn’t be happening, and it’s important that we find a way to get past it and get the game back on the field for the benefit of our fans,” he said.
If health and safety is a concern with coronavirus cases continuing to spike throughout the country, then it would be logical for MLB to consider cancelling the season altogether. If this is all based on money though, then it would be a major disappointment for the fans, who have patiently awaited the return of baseball for months.
Regardless of what MLB decides, the clock is ticking, so a resolution should be coming shortly.
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