Once it became evident Opening Day of the 2020 regular season would not be held on March 26, Major League Baseball and the Players Association entered into negotiations for matters pertaining to service time and player salaries.
An agreement was reached relatively quickly, with players being due to earn service time they did last season regardless of how many games are played in 2020, along with prorated salaries. However, interpretation of the agreement is now at the basis of friction between MLB and the MLBPA.
While the union maintains an economic plan for this season is in place, team owners believe language in the March deal allowed for new negotiations if the league faced unprecedented challenges — which MLB asserts is the case as fans won’t be permitted to attend games at the outset of a season beginning.
As the two parties remain at odds, some owners reportedly are willing to cancel the entire 2020 season altogether, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney:
Sources say there is a group of owners perfectly willing to shut down the season, to slash payroll costs and reduce losses, and the disparate views among the 30 teams have been reflected in the decisions to fire and furlough.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said clubs would lose an estimated $4 billion in revenue if a season is lost this year. Though, Manfred has also been among those to voice confidence the league and union will agree to terms.
Under a claim paying prorated salaries for games without any gate or other revenue, team owners sought players to accept pay cuts based on a sliding scale that called for high earners to face more of a decrease.
The MLBPA has yet to formally submit a counter proposal, but several players have already made it clear they would not accept another cut in pay. Instead, the Players Association is expected to request the status quo with prorated salaries, but also offer to play more games — that would essentially be ‘free’ and not factored into pay.
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