NEW YORK – Once again, the spotlight will return to the man at the top.
The question now is if Rob Manfred will use the power given to him by both the players and owners when the COVID-19 pandemic began.
In a statement released by Major League Baseball, it appears he’s ready to do so.
After not doing so earlier in June, Major League Baseball is ready to proceed with the 2020 season with a scheduled set by Manfred. In the release, the league is asking that the MLBPA provides two answers the league by 4 PM CST on Tuesday: Can players report by July 1st and if they’ll agree on the operating manual for the 2020 season.
Whether they do so it still to be seen, but a negotiated agreement appears unlikely after things broke down between the sides again.
Per Jesse Rogers and Jeff Passan of ESPN, the players have rejected the latest proposal from the owners earlier Monday that would have started a 60-game season. This would have included a full prorated share of salaries, no salary guarantee if the season wasn’t played, a minimum $25 million playoff pool, and the elimination of the designated hitter along with expanded playoffs in 2021 if fewer than 50 games were played.
The MLBPA released a statement after the vote, saying they are finalizing a “comprehensive set of health and safety protocols with Major League Baseball” over the next coming days. But yet again, as they did in previous statements, they put the pressure on Manfred to set the schedule, saying they are full committed to playing once that’s done.
Remember, the players and owners gave Manfred the authority to set the schedule if an agreement to start the season couldn’t be negotiated. The commissioner passed on the chance to do so earlier in the month the MLBPA said they were done negotiating.
“Tell us when and where,” became the player’s cry on June 13th, and then it was Manfred who said without a negotated deal the season might be in doubt.
No schedule was set, but the sides kept talking, and it appeared a deal was close in the middle of last week. But another proposal has come and gone without an approval. Now it looks as if Manfred is ready to act, bringing a potential end to the muddy road which both sides have taken towards the start of the 2020 season.