The last few days have been very pessimistic for many, as the chances of a season happening seemed to decline. Rob Manfred said in an interview that he was no longer confident that a season would happen. Reports also came out that several owners did not want a season at all. The players united behind a simple message: “Tell us when and where.” They were done negotiating after repeated deals barely changed what they would be earning at all.
Today, the mood got more positive as both sides took steps forward to get a deal in place. It started earlier today, as commissioner Rob Manfred and MLBPA chief Tony Clark met in Arizona.
Breaking: MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and players union chief Tony Clark had what’s being called a productive meeting face to face in Arizona. Meeting was called at Manfred’s request— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 17, 2020
Following the meeting, the reports came out that a new deal had been proposed. Though it hasn’t been agreed to yet, it’s seen as a positive development after the last few days. The deal does include full prorated pay and expanded playoffs.
Breaking: MLB and players union are closing in on an agreement to play the 2020 season, via players. Deal expected to be for prorated pay and include expanded playoffs.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 17, 2020
Major League Baseball has sent a new proposal to the MLB Players Association, sources tell ESPN. No deal is done, but with Rob Manfred and Tony Clark having met, this is seen as significant progress considering where the parties were 48 hours ago.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 17, 2020
Source says no deal is close yet between MLB and MLBPA beccause the proposal was just sent by MLB. No agreement even in principle at this point.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) June 17, 2020
Some sources are more excited and positive than others, but the general feeling now is much more positive that a season will occur and a deal is closer than it has been in the past few offers. One big stumbling block that may have been avoided is the possibility of a grievance. The players had threatened to file a grievance even if a season is played, but avoiding the possibility of a grievance made some owners more willing to deal.
As part of the pending agreement to play the 2020 season between MLB and the players union, the union has agreed to waive any grievance.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 17, 2020
A driving force in this resumption of the baseball talks:— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) June 17, 2020
I've been hearing it wasn't so much that a group of owners didn't want to play. They just didn't want to play and face a $1 billion grievance.
You know what would make that grievance go away? Making a deal.
There’s still a lot of work that needs to happen for a deal to come together. Many issues will need to be ironed out, such as the number of games, player safety with the ongoing pandemic, etc. However, there is at least a more positive feeling going on now.
It probably should be assumed if Manfred flew to meet with Clark that he was authorized by his bosses (the owners) to deliver an offer that was either acceptable or pretty darn close to it. Even the most pessimistic folks I am texting with right now say momentum is toward a deal.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) June 17, 2020
There is no agreement between MLB and the MLBPA. MLB knows players must get full pro rata. League wants players to waive right to grieve. Expanded playoffs a part of this. Number of games is vital. Other issues, too. There is work to be done. But a pathway to a deal does exist.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 17, 2020
At the same time, the MLBPA doesn’t want hope to build too much just yet. They came out and said that reports of an agreement are false. While they did deny an agreement has been made, they didn’t say anything else, so the talks could be ongoing. Bill Shakin adds in that the MLBPA hasn’t waived their right to grieve yet, but could as part of an agreement.
Reports of an agreement are false.— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) June 17, 2020
Source: It is "flatly and utterly false" that MLBPA has agreed to waive any grievance against MLB. Could happen as part of an agreement. There isn't an agreement.— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) June 17, 2020
Some details of the deal have also come out. Bob Nightengale reports that it’s for a 60-game season with full prorated pay, though the players want a longer season. It would also include a 16-team playoff.
The players will receive their full pro-rata pay, as anticipated, for a 60-game season, in their new proposal. The season would start July 19, per @Buster_ESPN. The players want a longer season.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 17, 2020
If the 60-game season starts July 19, there are 71 calendar days before Sept. 27. So there would be wiggle room for more games.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 17, 2020
The MLB playoffs would expand from 10 teams to 16 teams under the new proposal.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 17, 2020
For now, the situation is moving quickly and there is at least hope building that a season could come together. How much hope there is depends on which source you talk to right now, but at least the talk has begun again. Will this lead to a deal to get the season going again? It’s still uncertain, but at least it’s looking better than it did to start the week.