At a time of great uncertainty throughout the globe, MLB is in unfamiliar territory with the start of the 2020 season suspended due to the COVID-19 epidemic. While MLB publicly pushed its start back to mid-May at the earliest, league executives and players are reportedly just hoping Opening Day can take place in early June.
MLB and the MLB Players’ Association are discussing plans for the 2020 season with the hope that it would begin in early June, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Both sides are trying to work on an agreement that would outline how players would be paid during the year, how employees would be compensated and what happens to the 2020 season.
As part of the ongoing discussions, both sides agreed that regular-season games might need to play into October. In that scenario, the MLB Playoffs could then be shifted to neutral sites in November that would be played in warmer cities or enclosed stadiums.
The negotiations come during a time when MLB would typically be preparing for Opening Day. The 2020 season was set to start on March 26, but the ongoing coronavirus pandemic forced the start of the season to be postponed. Both sides have reportedly targeted Wednesday as a deadline to come to an agreement.
Among the concerns for players, is how their salaries will be paid out while there is no baseball. A deal could reportedly guarantee players receive a prorated salary based off the number of games played this season, per ESPN. MLB players also have communicated a willingness to play multiple doubleheaders, as many as two, in a week.
MLB is also working to figure out a plan to ensure that stadium employees receive their scheduled pay as long as possible. It’s also working to hammer out a system to pay MiLB players during the suspended season.
The league recently announced a short-term plan to provide financial aid to MiLB players with an allowance for each player. All 30 MLB owners also committed $1 million each towards stadium employees to help cover lost wages during the suspended season.
Given the uncertainty of how long this crisis will last, MLB is determined to have a plan in place with its players and employees.