Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred sent a letter to players association executive director Tony Clark, offering what might be one last olive branch for the two sides to strike a deal.
According toJeff Passan of ESPN, Manfred offered to cancel expanded playoffs and a universal designated hitter for the 2021 season if a full season is not played in 2020. Those were two points owners wanted for the next two seasons, and with the current collective bargaining agreement set to expire after 2021, it would seem likely that both would be part of a new CBA if they were already implemented. Passan notes that players were "concerned about giving up leverage of playoffs for naught."
There has been a spike in COVID-19 cases in Florida and Arizona, home of every team's spring training facilities, leading the league to shut down all spring facilities this week after reports that Phillies and Blue Jays players who had been working there tested positive for the virus. A second wave of COVID-19 could threaten the regular season or playoffs.
Originally, it appeared the MLBPA was going to vote on MLB's 60-game proposal Sunday, but that did not occur. On Saturday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that vote could come in 'several days,' as they gather information for potential safety and health protocols.
According toJon Heyman Saturday, the eight-member executive subcommittee is expected to reject the offer, possibly unanimously. There are also 30 players votes, who will ultimately decide if the deal would pass or not.
If the union rejects this offer, Manfred would likely have to impose a 2020 season, which he has the power to do under the March agreement. If that happens, the union is expected to file a grievance, claiming the league did not negotiate in good faith.
The union sent a counterproposal for a 70-game season Thursday, but the league said they would not counter and that a 60-game season is the most they will play. Per Ken Rosenthal, in that letter Manfred sent to Clark, he said the union is "fighting over an impossibility on games.” Since spring training sites are being cleaned, the earliest players could reconvene is June 29. Spring training 2.0 will be three weeks long, and Manfred says that would make the regular season just 66 calendar days long.
Between the extra games, playoff money and potential loan forgiveness the players received as part of the March agreement, the two sides were about $300 million apart in their latest proposals.