NEW YORK – It’s not at all the way either side would have liked to find an agreement to play baseball again in 2020, but now it appears the fate of Major League Baseball this summer has fallen into the commissioner’s hands.
The Major League Baseball Player’s Association officially rejected the latest offer from the owner’s on Saturday night. This one called for 72 games in which players would get 70 percent of their prorated salaries, which would increase to 80 if the playoffs take place.
In a statement, executive director Tony Clark made it clear that there will not be a counteroffer, which puts the ball in Rob Manfred’s court. Per an agreement reached in March between players and owners, it would be up to the commissioner to set the schedule.
“It unfortunately appears that further dialogue with the league would be futile,” said Clark in the statement. “It’s time to get back to work. Tell us when and where.”
This likely means a much shorter schedule for the 2020 MLB season than the players had hoped for. So far they proposed 114 and 89-game schedules in which the players would be paid 100 percent of their prorated salaries.
Owners have balked at those demands, proposing less prorated salary and shorter seasons in hopes of finishing before November in case of a second wave of COVID-19. While the owner’s number of games have steadily increased, the sides couldn’t meet at a number.
With Manfred now holding the power to set the schedule, it’s expected that the regular season will last 45-55 games.
This won’t make the player’s association happy, and it comes at a tenuous time for both sides, who’ve haggled for a month on a return to play plan. It also comes as the current Collective Bargaining Agreement is set to expire in December 2021.
On Saturday, the New York Post reported that Turner Sports has come to a $1 billion agreement to continue televising regular season and playoff games for the near future. In hoping to get better salaries for players in 2020, this fact wasn’t lost on Clark or the MLBPA Saturday.
“In recent days, owners have decried the supposed unprofitability of owning a baseball team and the Commissioner has repeatedly threatened to schedule a dramatically shortened season unless players agree to hundreds of millions in further concessions. Our response has been consistent that such concessions are unwarranted, would be fundamentally unfair to players, and that our sport deserves the fullest 2020 season possible,” said Clark in a statement. “These remain our positions today, particularly in light of new reports regarding MLB’s national television rights — information we requested from the league weeks ago but were never provided.”