MLBPA Looking For More Games Than Owners' 60-Game Proposal
The back and forth between the owners in major league baseball and the MLBPA has dominated the news cycle for several weeks with nothing overly positive to report. Every proposal that was thrown around by either side was quickly and summarily rejected by the other party, leaving us no closer to a resolution than we were three months ago when the league was delayed. Just when it seemed like the league was making some progress en route to an actual return to play, it seems that another monkey wrench was thrown into the plans.
On Tuesday, commissioner Rob Manfred and MLBPA executive director Tony Clark met for several hours in Phoenix, bringing some hope back that baseball could be on the path back to playing. That was followed by an announcement on Wednesday that the owners had sent over a new proposal for a 60-game season with full pro-rated salaries and the expanded playoff format that had been bandied about. In the proposal, 16 teams would make the postseason as opposed to the normal number of 10 that we’ve seen in recent years. The hope was that the owners’ willingness to make the move to 60 games with full pro-rated salaries would be enough of a move from their position that things would come together.
As it turns out, there’s still things to be worked out. Reports came out Wednesday night and into Thursday morning that the players see the 60-game schedule to be too short. The expectation is that the MLBPA will counter the offer of the owners with a proposal of their own in order to try and get more games, and subsequently, more money this season. Whether or not the owners will have any further give in the matter remains to be seen. Still, that thought process is similar to what Jeff Passan had kicked around yesterday. At that point, he said that the owners made their pitch for 60 games, the players would likely counter with more games and the season length was going to fall somewhere in between those numbers.
Time is of the essence for the two sides to hammer out some sort of an agreement. Originally, thoughts were that spring training 2.0 would start around June 10 to get teams in action by the Fourth of July. We’re already more than a week past that expected date to start spring training. Things have gone on long enough at this point of time and the potential damage to the league continues to rise with every day that passes without an agreement. While there seemed to be some ground gained, it appears there is yet another river to cross in order to get things done.
Will the owners find a way to hammer out something with the players and get back to seeing games on the field? The next few days will tell the tale and set the tone for how things could unfold for the rest of this season, not to mention beyond.