Report: MLB owners submit financial plan for 2020 season

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred speaks during winter meetings
Dec 10, 2019; San Diego, CA, USA; MLB commissioner Rob Manfred speaks to the media before announcing the All-MLB team during the MLB Winter Meetings at Manchester Grand Hyatt. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sport

Major League Baseball enters a critical week of negotiations for the potential start of the 2020 season. After weeks of deliberation, MLB owners took the first step towards a deal by submitting a financial plan to the players’ union for the 2020 season.

Under the proposal, which team owners approved on Tuesday, MLB would use a sliding pay scale to compensate the players this season. According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the financial layout would see MLB’s highest-paid players take the most significant financial hit and players on the lower end of the scale would receive a majority of their guaranteed salaries.

MLB initially discussed a 50-50 split of the league’s 2020 revenue, which the players’ union immediately rejected. However, the idea was never made a part of the official plan for a return, given the strong objection from the MLBPA.

Players have pushed back against taking further pay cuts, believing they already agreed to a deal in March with MLB. Under that agreement, MLB and the players’ union agreed that players would receive prorated salaries based on the number of games played.

MLB later argued that the agreement was based on the belief that the season would be played without fans in attendance. In reports from league officials and team ownership, MLB suggested it would lose $4 billion if it stuck by the agreement, but that claim has been partially debunked.

The new proposal for the 2020 season will be sent to the players’ union this afternoon. Even if both sides agree to the financial terms of a reshaped season, which remains uncertain, they must also sign off on safety measures to protect players. The MLBPA submitted a counter-proposal to MLB’s initial safety protocols this past week.

There remains optimism that a deal will be reached for an MLB season this summer, but this week is viewed as a pivotal point that will decide whether or not it happens.