Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association continued negotiating an abbreviated 2020 season on Tuesday. One day after MLB proposed a 76-game season with 75 percent prorated pay, the union countered with an 89-game season and full prorated pay, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan's. The MLBPA's proposal also includes a 16-team postseason in 2020 and 2021.
Tuesday's proposal represents a compromise from the players, who proposed a 114-game season with full prorated pay and an expanded postseason two weeks ago. The MLBPA insists on full prorated pay -- the players want to get paid for the games they play -- while MLB is steadfastly demanding additional pay reductions.
- May 26: MLB proposes 82-game season with sliding salary scale.
- May 31: MLBPA proposes 114-game season with full prorated salary and possible deferrals.
- June 1: MLB indicates willingness to pay full prorated salaries, but for a 48-54 game season.
- June 8: MLB proposes 76-game season with 75 percent prorated salary.
- June 9: MLBPA proposes 89-game season with full prorated salary.
The MLBPA's proposal also includes a $5 million fund to assist minor leaguers and charitable organizations focused on social justice initiatives, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
MLB's proposals would all pay the players roughly one-third of their full season salary, only across a different number of games. The MLBPA has expressed a willingness to defer some salary to help the clubs navigate their short-term cash flow problems, and now they're proposing fewer games (and thus less salary).
An expanded postseason field would generate significant additional television revenue for MLB. Commissioner Rob Manfred can not unilaterally expand the postseason, however. The MLBPA must agree, and that is a significant bargaining chip. It's hard to imagine the union agreeing to an expanded postseason if the owners insist on another pay reduction.
MLB and the MLBPA agreed to prorated salaries in March, though the owners believe the agreement allows for another pay reduction should games be played without fans, which is likely. The players consider the matter closed and are challenging Manfred's ability to unilaterally schedule the season by proposing more games.
Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal reports the MLBPA's proposed 89-game regular season would run from July 10 to Oct. 11, ensuring the postseason does not overlap with the NBA Finals, which are scheduled to end Oct. 12. MLB doesn't want to delay the postseason for several reasons, including the difficultly securing broadcast deals in November and a potential second wave of the coronavirus.
There is no hard deadline for an agreement, but the longer negotiations drag on, the fewer games they'll play. MLB and the MLBPA both want to play as many games as possible. They just have very different ideas about how the players should be compensated.