The Major League Baseball Players’ Union has submitted their counter-proposal for a potential 2020 season to owners, with news breaking last night from several reporters about how the players would like to see baseball play out this year. The union’s proposal comes five days after the initial proposal from owners, which was roundly criticized and rejected. Where ownership suggested an 82 game schedule beginning in July, the union put forth an offer for 114 regular season games beginning on June 30th and running through October 31st.
The union also included expanded playoffs as part of their proposal, which is something that owners are believed to be in favor of. In fact, the players would like to see expanded playoffs in both 2020 and 2021, and idea which could help make up for some of the inevitable revenue shortfall of playing games without fans. With the regular season running until the end of October under the players’ proposal, though, an expanded playoff could cause scheduling conflicts with other November events like NFL games.
Unsurprisingly, the union’s proposal includes the previously agreed upon prorated salaries without any further cuts. The players did suggest a total salary deferral of $100 million, but only if the postseason is shortened or cancelled. The deferrals would only apply to players with regular, non-prorated salaries of $10 mil or more, and would be paid back with interest. There would also be another salary advance of $100 million to be disbursed amongst all players around the league at the beginning of Spring Training 2.0.
The union’s proposal also includes the ability for players to opt out of playing in 2020 if they are concerned about their safety with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Certain individuals who are high-risk (someone like Carlos Carrasco) or who live with someone deemed high-risk can opt-out and still receive both their promised service time and prorated salary for 2020. Other players can also choose to opt out, but would only receive service time and not get paid.
Earlier reports had ownership officials saying that this deal was a “non-starter” and that there is “no progress” towards playing Major League Baseball games in 2020. With 70% of the season being played under the players’ proposal versus 51% that ownership suggested, there would actually be more money spent on player salaries rather than the steep additional pay cuts that owners wanted. Players seem to strongly favor playing more than 82 games, however, including a willingness to play doubleheaders.
June 1st was seen as a “soft” deadline for an agreement for the 2020 season to take place, though that will obviously not be met now. There is hope that this “good faith” offer from the players will open the door to actual negotiations to get MLB started back up this summer. But the clock is ticking, and any agreement likely needs to be made by the end of this week if the season is to begin by July as both sides seem to want.