Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association haven't yet reached an agreement on a modified 2020 season, and commissioner Rob Manfred doesn't seem happy about it. To be more specific, Manfred is displeased that a deal failed to materialize during face-to-face negotiations between himself and union head Tony Clark earlier this week. Rather, the union sent a new proposal to the league on Thursday that called for, among other things, 70 games.
Manfred spoke to reporters Thursday evening, where he laid out his frustrations. "This needs to be over," he said, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman. "Until I speak with the owners, I can't give you a firm deadline.'' Meanwhile, Manfred told USA Today's Bob Nightengale, about his trip to Arizona to meet with Clark: "I don't know what Tony and I were doing there for several hours going back and forth and making trades if we weren't reaching an agreement."
As if these negotiations hadn't become troublesome enough, Thursday saw the two sides bicker over whether an agreement was reached on Wednesday. That included Manfred's quip and a pair of statements from the players association denying that any deal had been agreed upon.
Manfred released a statement Wednesday after his meeting with Clark saying that they "left that meeting with a jointly developed framework that we agreed could form the basis of an agreement."
Ostensibly the two sides are close enough to reach a deal sooner than later, and this episode will go down as an ill-timed misunderstanding. Manfred seemed to concede as much when he said, again to Nightengale: "We're at the same place. We want to play. We want to reach an agreement. ...We're doing everything necessary to find a way to play, hopefully by agreement.''
Remember, MLB's season was supposed to begin on March 26. The spread of the novel coronavirus forced the league to pause those plans two weeks beforehand.