Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred assured concerned fans that he is “100% sure” that there will be a 2020 season despite the dragging, bitter negotiations between the league and the players’ union (MLBPA).
The problem is, no one knows whether it will come by successful arrangements between the two parties or through mandated, absolute power from the commissioner.
On Tuesday, the players’ union proposed an 89-game season with full prorated salaries, which was denied by the league.
The continued sticking point comes down to player compensation. The union wants those full prorated salaries while the league and its owners find new ways to propose additional pay cuts for the truncated 2020 season, which has consistently featured the players getting 33% of their salaries regardless of the 82, 50, and 76-game models that they put forth.
Speaking with ESPN‘s Karl Ravech, Manfred said another counteroffer from the league is expected soon.
“We’re hopeful that it will produce reciprocal movement from the players’ association, that we’ll see a number other than 100% on salary, and some recognition that 89 games, given where we are in the calendar and the course of the pandemic, is not realistic,” he said.
It’s as hollow as a statement as ever when considering the players’ refusal to budge from the 100% prorated salaries. The union has made it known that they won’t relent from that number, either.
If the league and union cannot reach an agreement, Manfred can step in and implement a shorter season — reported to be approximately 48 games — to ensure baseball meets its hopeful July 10 start date. Players would also receive that elusive prorated salary.
Such a short season provides a sizable cut for the players anyway, however, which could see the union not agree to the league’s expanded postseason (16 teams instead of 10) and file a grievance.
That would only make things tenser between the two parties with the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expiring after the 2021 season. With more rampant negotiations in store then, the possibility of a strike would only grow.
In the middle of all this remains the fans, who patiently await the return of America’s Pasttime almost one month after team owners initially approved the league’s 82-game return-to-play plan that would have held Opening Day near July 4.
AMNewYork Metro polled 100 baseball fans asking how the lay-off and negotiations have affected their views on the upcoming season.
The majority (46 voters) still just want to see baseball come back while 19 fans hoped that the season will be canceled. An additional 35 have been so turned off by the endless talks, that they don’t care what happens in 2020.