Major League Baseball and the Players Association have been at odds for several weeks over interpretation of a March 26 agreement and more specifically, an economic plan for the 2020 regular season.
The union has continued to insist on receiving full prorated salaries that were agreed to in March. Team owners have claimed such a financial commitment is not feasible due to the likelihood games will not have fans in attendance.
The two sides have also disagreed over the length of a season. MLB reportedly is concerned over a possible second wave of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the fall and therefore want to conclude the regular season by Sept. 27.
Thus, MLB’s latest proposal to the MLBPA was for 60 games at full prorated pay, an expanded postseason and universal designated hitter, among other elements. The union countered at 70 games, which reportedly upset team owners.
With an expectation that the league would not continue with negotiations, the MLBPA executive committee set out to vote on the 60-game proposal. It was delayed multiple times before finally being held Monday afternoon.
According to ESPN’S Jesse Rogers, the Players Association voted against approving the offer:
Sources tell @JeffPassan and I players have voted against the league's latest proposal to play 60 games. The vote was 33-5 against.
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) June 22, 2020
The union deciding against MLB’s latest proposal is widely considered the final domino to fall before commissioner Rob Manfred will impose a season. It’s expected to be closer to 50 games, and presumably would be met with a grievance from the MLBPA.
However, there is some belief Manfred prefers the league and union to first agree on health and safety protocols for the season. That may prove all the more difficult due to the recent spike in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases across multiple states.
Although MLB has been planning on permitting teams to play in their home stadiums, the recent surge reportedly has them considering a ‘bubble’ approach. If that is the route MLB elects to take, Southern California is believed to be among the regions under consideration to host all 30 teams.
The league previously mulled doing so in Phoenix, and also considered a three-state approach that involved Arizona, Florida and Texas, which are now hotbeds.
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