Originally, Major League Baseball hoped to have an agreement with the players association in place for how to compensate players for the 2020 season by June 1.
Well, it's June 1, and there is virtually no chance a deal is going to be reached today.
Now that doesn't mean the season is cancelled. As long as the two sides are negotiating, there is still hope. If they get a deal done this week, MLB can stick to its original plan of restarting spring training around June 10 and then opening the season on July 4. But right now, it's fair to be worried if there will be a season.
The ramifications of failing to play a season because of a labor dispute are almost incalculable. It took years for the game to recover from the 1994-95 players strike, and that only happened because of a steroid boom and plenty of teams getting a new stadium. Those aren't options in 2020. It would also greatly impact players, too, as young players would miss out on a year of development and everyone would go roughly 16 or 17 months with only a couple weeks of spring training baseball being their only competitive play. Players who missed most or all of 2019 with injuries, like Chad Kuhl and Edgar Santana, would go over two years without competing.
One thing that is guaranteed is players will get credited for service time for 2020, regardless of if there is a season or not. That was a part of the deal both sides struck in late March. In fact, it was the most important thing to the players in those negotiations.
“Service time was something that thought could set us back, as players, for not just this year, next year, not just for a couple years," Pirates union rep Jameson Taillon said in an interview shortly after that March deal was struck. "We thought it was something could really set us back for the foreseeable future.
"We weren’t really willing to come off of our stance there."
If there is no season, players on active rosters will receive the same amount of service time in 2020 that they earned in 2019. If there is a season, the service time calculations will be prorated. For example, the MLB season is 183 days long, and a full service year is 172 days. If the regular season is 91 days long, then players would have to be on the roster for at least 86 days to get credit for a full year.
For many, this agreement means they will get credit for a full year, meaning they will be one year closer to free agency. To name a few Pirates players this applies to: Josh Bell, Kevin Newman, Joe Musgrove, Trevor Williams and Adam Frazier.