Following months of deliberation between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association on a plan for the 2020 season, players voted on Monday to reject MLB’s final offer for a 60-game schedule.
The decision, receiving overwhelming support from the player representatives and executive committee, likely marks the end of hopes for both sides agreeing to a deal.
MLB players overwhelmingly reject final proposal for 2020 season
The decision was expected, with the players’ union taking issues with MLB’s latest offer in a negotiation that has been very public and received widespread criticism. Now, following the vote, players are now calling on commissioner Rob Manfred to implement a shortened season.
MLB and the MLBPA made progress last week on a potential proposal for the season. Owners offered a 60-game season will fully prorated salaries. The players’ union submitted a counter-proposal for a 70-game season, but MLB rejected it instantly. Instead of making a new offer, MLB stood by its 60-game plan and left it up to this vote.
The final proposal would not have given players salary guarantees if the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of games, per Jim Bowden. Coming off a week that saw MLB experience its own coronavirus outbreak with growing fears the pandemic could wipe out a season, players took significant issue with the stipulation in the offer.
What is next for a potential MLB season?
Throughout negotiations, MLB owners pushed back against an agreement made in March that stated players would receive full pro-rata salaries based on the number of games played. As part of that deal, which teams argued was dependent on things returning to normal, players gave Manfred the authority to implement his own plan for the season.
It’s expected that Manfred’s proposal will offer at least a 50-game season. However, he needs approval from owners and that isn’t a guarantee.
If Manfred’s offer is approved by the league, teams can then have players report for a modified spring training at each of their facilities within a matter of weeks. However, per The Los Angeles Times, clubs will first need to thoroughly clean the facilities and implement safety guidelines following the recent wave of positive tests among players.
If everything goes well, the 2020 MLB season could start in late July with Opening Day held in empty stadiums across the league. Of course, that’s far from a guarantee given the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now that MLB has reached its last resort, multiple players are expected to sit out the 2020 season. Additionally, barring Manfred pushing through his own 60-game schedule, the MLBPA will likely file a grievance against MLB for not negotiating in good faith.