Over the past few days Major League Baseball has announced financial commitments to stadium workers who are impacted by the loss of games because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and for Minor Leaguer players who for now will receive pay through April 8.
Not considered to be quite as pressing but still bubbling under the surface is the need for an agreement between MLB and the MLB Players Association on pay for those on the 40-man roster. The initial expectation was the two sides would strike a deal prior to MLB moving onto Minor Leaguers.
Although MLB and the union have remained in constant communication since Spring Training games were cancelled and operations were suspended, they have been unable to find common ground in terms of deciding service time for the 2020 season.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the MLBPA is seeking credit for full service time even if the entire 2020 is lost because of the global crisis:
The union’s recent proposal was that even if no games were played in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, players would receive full service time for the 2020 season as long as they had reached certain service time criteria in 2019 — the initial plan was at least 60 days of service. MLB countered that a full service year (normally 172 days) would be credited for 130 games or more and that after that players would receive credit for actual days played. Thus, if a season were reduced to 110 days (even if with doubleheaders more games were played than days), a player would get the 110 days of service.
Service of course is a key factor to a player reaching free agency, and that would be of particular interest for the Los Angeles Dodgers as it relates to Mookie Betts. As the time of completing their trade with the Boston Red Sox, Betts was on track to become a free agent after the 2020 season.
Betts needs 102 days of service time in order to reach free agency this winter. He would figure to reach that benchmark even with the start of the season being delayed to mid-May at the earliest.
That also likely holds true if Opening Day is not until June, but if the start of the season begins to slip into July, Betts could be impacted.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in our live shows, and more!