Major League Baseball took one step closer toward a potential return this week when team owners approved a plan for the 2020 regular season.
The proposal calls for most clubs beginning the year at their home ballparks rather than a centralized location, an estimated 82-game schedule, a universal designated hitter and an expanded playoffs format.
MLB must now reach an agreement with the Players Association as the final step before a 2020 campaign is set in motion. However, there are still many obstacles to navigate for both sides.
Two primary issues that must be settled relate to player safety and economics. The former was extensively discussed Tuesday while the latter is expected to be addressed in the near future.
The union has maintained it won’t take further pay cuts after previously agreeing to a compensation package in March. Team owners are similarly refusing to budge off their request that players accept a 50-50 revenue split for the 2020 season, via Jon Heyman of MLB Network:
MLB’s position is that it will lose more money if they play games without fans and pay prorated salaries than if they don’t play at all. Thus, owners are saying they will not pay pro-rated salaries.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) May 13, 2020
With the prospect of fans being allowed to attend games this year becoming more unlikely by the day, MLB team owners are said to be concerned over the potentially significant financial losses they will suffer.
As a result, they are planning to once again ask players to accept a lesser salary for the 2020 season. This is believed to be a non-starter for the union, who will reportedly counter with the same terms the two sides agreed to earlier this spring.
In addition to receiving a lump sum of $170 million that was distributed over April and May, players were also guaranteed a prorated salary based on the number of games played in 2020.
Though, the owners are claiming that agreement hinged on regular-season games with fans in attendance.
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