As Major League Baseball hopes to stage a 2020 regular season, this has been a busy week for an exchange of proposals and counteroffers with the Players Association. The two sides hoped to have a deal in place by early June, which could have led to Opening Day being held on the Fourth of July.
Instead, MLB and the MLBPA are aiming to find common ground amid friction over how a March 26 agreement should be interpreted. The players have remained firm in their stance for full prorated salaries, while the league has sought variations of pay cuts.
On Monday, MLB proposed a 76-game season for up to 75% of prorated salaries, however 25% of it was contingent on an entire postseason being played. In that offer, MLB kept with their desire for an expanded playoff field and eliminating the need for a signing team signing a player who received a qualifying offer having to forfeit a draft pick.
The MLBPA rejected the proposal, and on Tuesday countered with an 89-game season that entailed full prorated salaries and expanded postseason. Predictably, MLB and its team owners refused to accept that offer.
As MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said would be the case, the league has presented the Players Association with a new proposal. According to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports, it is for 72 games and with a maximum of 80% prorated salaries:
The #MLBPA receives formal proposal from #MLB on 72-game season starting July 14, with 80% guarantee of their prorated salaries with a postseason, 70% with no postseason. Deadline is Sunday for 72-game schedule. Also, 29-man rosters for the first month. Players also have opt-out.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 12, 2020
Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the proposal also includes adding more postseason teams:
MLB proposal also includes expanded postseason of as many as eight teams per league. If postseason is completed, players would receive equivalent of 83 percent of prorated salaries, including additional money from postseason pool.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 12, 2020
Like with its previous offers to the union, MLB has essentially made minor changes on the economic front. After Monday’s proposal from the league, some within the MLBPA deemed it a ‘step backwards.’
In their first offer, owners proposed paying 100% of prorated salaries but only for 50 games. The league then pitched a sliding scale of pay cuts on top of the pro-rata pay, and their aforementioned offer earlier this week encompassed a potential of 75% prorated salary.
Players have continued to express their desire to take the field, even with a willingness to do so with a full schedule that may have entailed regular doubleheaders. However, MLB remains against stretching beyond a certain number of games at this point due to concerns over a second coronavirus (COVID-19) wave in the fall.
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