While Major League Baseball seems to be on the verge of returning after a two-month suspension due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there are still a number of hurdles that need to be cleared.
In addition to figuring out how to keep players safe, MLB and the Players Association must also come to a financial agreement for the 2020 season. Negotiations haven’t exactly been smooth, however, as the two sides originally agreed in March to players getting prorated salaries for however many games are played in 2020.
Now that time has passed and reality has set in that no fans will be in stadiums for at least the start and likely the entire season, the owners have gone back on their original agreement.
MLB is now expected to propose a new economic plan on Tuesday, although it remains to be seen how the MLBPA will receive it. According to Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic, the union will either have the choice of accepting the new proposal or holding the owners to the original agreement:
Major League Baseball will not propose a full revenue-sharing system to determine player salaries for the 2020 season, people with knowledge of the league’s thinking told The Athletic. In a scheduled meeting with the Players Association on Tuesday, the league plans to offer an alternative proposal, leaving the union with a potential choice: to hold the league to the prorated salaries the two sides negotiated in March, or accommodate the owners’ desire for a second, possibly percentage-based cut in some other fashion.
MLB reportedly has hopes of starting its season as soon as the beginning of July, meaning that players would need to begin figuring out accommodations and getting in game shape as soon as possible.
Because of that, it wouldn’t be in anyone’s interest to have the negotiations go on longer than expected, especially considering the circumstances going on in the world right now.
The players are not going to accept less money than they feel they deserve when they are putting their health on the line by playing a 2020 season. That is what makes these negotiations so tricky and could complicate the state of the 2020 season.
Reports indicate both sides remain optimistic a deal will get done though, so the return of baseball could be just around the corner.
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