Commissioner Rob Manfred met with Tony Clark of the Players’ Union to discuss many of the potential issues sure to arise as a result of the coronavirus shutdown. Though many particulars of the 2020 season are being taken into consideration, no decision is expected in the near-term about the official start to the 2020 season. That said, the delay is expected to continue until May at the earliest, per Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic. Still, no official announcement has been made, nor is there likely to be any official decisions made until enough time has passed to better quantify containment of the virus.
In the meantime, the Commissioner’s office is working with Clark and the MLBPA to hammer out a number of issues, including player pay. A delayed season, of course, brings all manner of complication. A truncated season, however, takes those complications to the next level, specifically in regards to service time and how it affects player salaries.
There was some concern that if players left their spring facilities, the MLB would be in a better position to suspend their pay, though those concerns appear to be, per Rosenthal and Drellich, “ill-formed.” The more pertinent question, for now, asks what is the safest route to moving forward and preparing for the eventual 2020 season? Opinions are split right now about whether players are better served staying in camp with their clubs and all the resources, medical and otherwise, at their disposal therein, or whether players should take part in the the broadly-accepted strategy of social distancing. For now, teams and players continue to make their decisions on an individual basis.