It has been a decidedly good two days in the world of Major League Baseball negotiations. On Wednesday, the league reportedly made a proposal for a 60-game season that featured prorated pay for players, something the union has been asking for since talks began.
While a deal has yet to be reached, there's clearly some progress being made. The MLBPA took the next step Thursday with a counterproposal calling for a 70-game season. MLBPA leader Tony Clark released the following statement Thursday afternoon:
"We delivered to Major League Baseball today a counterproposal based on a 70-game regular season which, among a number of issues, includes expanded playoffs for both 2020 and 2021. We believe this offer represents the basis for an agreement on resumption of play."
The union released another statement shortly thereafter after some owners started speaking out against the deal anonymously in the press. Clark said it was "unequivocally false to suggest that any tentative agreement" was reached when he met with commissioner Rob Manfred earlier in the week.
ESPN's Jeff Passan notes that the league is unlikely to accept this latest proposal. But there is middle ground and a deal could be close. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal said Thursday afternoon that he expected a deal within the next 48 hours.
The MLBPA's proposed regular season would begin on July 19 and wrap up on Sept. 30. Here are some more details, per Passan:
Among the details in MLBPA’s new proposal, sources tell ESPN:— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 18, 2020
- 70-game season from July 19-Sept. 30
- $50M in playoff bonuses
- 50/50 split of new postseason TV revenues in 2021
- Forgiveness of salary advance for Tier I-III players
- Universal DH
- Mutual waiver of grievance
Knowing that the league likely needs around a week to get things up and running for a second "spring" training and about three weeks for said spring training to take place, there really isn't much time left to argue over the number of games to be played this season. Let's hope common sense prevails and they meet in the middle at around 65.
We know the networks won't be paying top dollar for playoffs going more than just a day or two into November and the fight to this point has mostly been about money. All of this converges into a reality that says there really isn't much time for prolonged back-and-forth.
That is to say, the players refrain of "tell us when and where" won't really have a "when" much longer. This needs to happen within the next two or three days or it won't might not be happening at all in 2020.