Because of the global coronavirus pandemic, no one knows how long the 2020 Major League Baseball will go or if one will even occur. Considering it’s all but certain that each team will play fewer than 162 games this year, there are naturally myriad questions that the league and the union are going to have to figure out, as Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic covered this week (subscription link).
So far, players’ service time is “the most contentious” issue MLB and the MLBPA are discussing, Rosenthal and Drellich hear. After all, how much service time a player accrues in a given season has a lasting effect on the future of him and his employer. The 2019 season featured 186 days (including off time), leaving a possible 172 days of service time for each player to amass. But it’s unknown how MLB will handle service time should a shortened season take place. In a worst-case scenario, there might not be a season at all.
Rosenthal and Drellich use the prominent example of Dodgers superstar Mookie Betts, who’s currently set to be at the forefront of next winter’s free-agent class. Under MLB’s current rules, Betts needs 102 more days of service to make it to the open market, though he and everyone else around the league may be fortunate to even rack up that many. So, it seems the league and the players must position themselves to draw up some other arrangement.
If no season happens, the union would still want each major leaguer to get a full year of service, Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweets. Rosenthal reports differently, on the other hand, writing that the union will not seek a full season of service for every player if the 2020 campaign is canceled. Rather, in the event there is no 2020 season, the union has proposed for players who totaled a certain, unknown number of service days in 2019 to garner a full year. Joel Sherman of the New York Post backs up Rosenthal, though Sherman adds that the union’s hope is that everyone who tallied at least 60 days in 2019 will earn a full year of service time this year. The league countered with an offer of 130 days in 2020 or “that proportional service would be given” if there are fewer days this season, per Sherman. who notes that MLB is reluctant to offer a full year of service without an acceptable amount of games played or revenue collected.
Of course, as Rosenthal and Drellich detail, the length of a season has a direct effect on such issues as arbitration, vesting options and incentives. The present arbitration system hinges largely on a player’s ability to record counting stats (home runs, RBI, wins, saves and holds come to mind), but if there are fewer games, the sport may have to come up with a different arbitration method for at least next winter. Likewise, for those who have vesting options for 2021 and/or incentives baked into their contracts (plate appearances and games pitched, to name two examples), baseball might have to hammer out a solution that levels the playing field.
In addition to the aforementioned issues, it’s also in question how much money players will receive if there’s a truncated or canceled season. With America amid a national emergency, commissioner Rob Manfred has the right to withhold players’ salaries, but it doesn’t appear MLB is inclined to battle the MLBPA over money, Rosenthal and Drellich write, in part because it could damage the two sides’ relationship. That’s just about the last thing the game needs with serious negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement looming. The current CBA expires in December 2021.
Why can’t they just say however many games they play is x% of 162 and we will apply that % to all other values? I am sure I’m oversimplifying things but I mean ????
Does this mean the Dodgers might get 2 seasons out of Betts before he hits free agency??
(I mean what ever part of 2020 that is played and then all of 2021)
That makes sense at first blush but I’m sure we’re missing something. If the season is cut down to 81 games, the. Each game of service would actually be equal to 2 days of Major League Service. So, player is active for 50 games in 2020, then he gets 100 days Of service. Issues with the IL, DFA limbo, etc need to be worked out too.
Wouldn’t the easiest option (probably not the most realistic tho) for the MLB be just cancelling the season and freezing everything where it is? You still pay the players at the current rate they are signed for and then next year they play for the same amount of money on the actual deal they were signed for. Then you don’t have to worry about service time or anything like that and you also don’t have to hurt any CBA negotiations.
If no one aged then this would be great.
Maybe these guys who make millions of dollars should acknowledge that a pandemic is happening and that they can’t get everything they want. Some people are losing much more than a year of baseball
Minor leaguers don’t get paid if you cancel the season. That’s a huge issue.
I was thinking the same thing. Its just proportional. I guess that is too simple
Cancelling the season would be ridiculous and unnecessary. Enough with all the hysteria. Smh.
It’s over the top tbh, I understand and agree that we have to stop large gatherings and practice social distancing but cmon already. I’m an independent contractor- I’m F’d- no money coming in for at least 6-8 weeks by the look of it. I have a family. I’m stressed, many people have anxiety and fear over their lack of income. Can we all try to think this through a little more? I feel like Govts are quickly shutting things down from peer pressure!! If I see one more alert/ notification counting deaths from Covid-19….hysteria
Do you see what is happening in Italy? They are having to choose who lives and who dies and you’re annoyed by a notification. Government is shutting things down, because if we don’t people will die. That’s way more important than baseball and your income.
this whole thing is both larger picture and smaller picture. its not just one or the other. yeah its doing a lot of harm to people in general, but certain in specific are suffering beyond just in health.
In Italy they showed a CONVOY of military vehicles…each packed with coffins heading to a crematory..No room for burial and too dangerous for funerals… And some people think it’s an overreaction not to pack a stadium full of people sitting shoulder to shoulder.
And what your not even talking about is the majority of players would refuse to play.
It’s going to come down to when are hoards of people ready to enter a stadium with 40,000 people again? Not just a few deniers here and there but hoards. Right now that’s hard to envision. A lot of people are still just catching up to the idea of social distancing.
The whole thing’s fishy no doubt. 0.000001% of the world’s population has died from it but they’re shutting the entire world down and calling it a “pandemic”? The math doesn’t add up.
Major news channels in CA, all media outlets as well as social media just starting running with a headline- Gov of CA says 56% of the CA population (25.5mil) will be infected w Coronavirus within 8 weeks. You have to dig pretty deep to in fact see that he actually said 56% of CA would test positive if we do nothing to stop the virus, in other words. If we kept our schools open, sporting events, concerts etc then their projections have 56% of CA testing positive in 2 months. That’s what I’m tired of- media outlets being irresponsible with information. Fanning the flames, adding to the panic and hysteria.
It is not an overreaction There is no cure. Atleast with flu you have most responsible adults getting themselves and their kids flu shots.
So you end up with what’s known as herd immunity..which actually protects the scumbags who don’t get one.
And you still have 10s of thousands of deaths.
And people are still worried about a game. Talk about being irresponsible.
media is relaying the information from scientists to us so that irresponsible people like you not to drag others into infection.
You deniers are all fools at this point. When someone you love gets infected, especially someone who has a compromised immune system (my mother) then you’ll see how serious this is. To you, you may be in the clear but you could also have a hand in killing hundreds if you don’t social distance and stay home if you don’t need to be out. Don’t be so irresponsible. I love baseball more than anything but I know my mother’s health is far more important than some stupid game we throw endless dollars into.
Vizionaire, if you think the media is giving reliable information, simply put, you’re an idiot.
Tedyaz, Vizionaire, ckin88, – try some reading comprehension! Really! I said I completely understand we need social distancing, SIP protocol etc. Tedyaz- there is no cure, YET! SARS was a Coronavirus- we had that contained in 7 mos. Did you even read my post about media outlets? There’s a huge difference in saying 56% of CA will be infected if we don’t do anything about the problem than saying in 8 weeks CA will have 25.5 Mil people infected w Coronavirus despite the SIP protocol. The media didn’t clarify the Gov’s statement and chose to mislead people. That causes added panic and hysteria. How can anyone who is supposed to be able to read and speak the English language think that makes me a naysayer? And btw- I understand Covid-19 is more contagious and has a higher death rate than influenza but as of right now there are more (88) deaths in 2020 from the flu just in San Diego County alone than there is from Covid-19 in all of CA. Where’s the notifications and alerts about those 88 families who lost someone? But go ahead, tell your own narrative. Mis-interpret my information just like the media. Pfft!
Vizionaire you must have a special channel as I do not see the one where the scientists are relaying information to us
So ColossusOfClout what percentage of the population must die for it to be an epidemic?
according to arthur reingold, head of epidemiology and biostatistics at uc berkley, “is it plausible? is it possible? yes,should we be planning for the worst while hoping for the best? i think that’s what the governor is trying to do”
“we need to plan for something as dire as that in terms of hospital beds, testing, ventilators, to try to convince people that this is serious problem”
from the excerpts from the mercury news
Arthur Reingold is correct, the Gov is doing the right thing. No disputing that. The point being made is the media is not doing the right thing. Yesterday my friend called, anxious after reading an ABC news story that said 56% of Californians will get the Coronavirus. He believed that information to be fact when in reality the governor said IF WE DONT DO ANYTHING to arrest the spread he has been told 56% of Ca COULD get the virus. The major media outlets are being irresponsible and frankly dangerous w their coverage during the pandemic. That media ‘cherry picking’ strategy only adds to the panic and hysteria. Those news outlets are despicable
Oh its just peer pressure huh? You have a warped sense of reality
When you’re all of a sudden unemployed and you have a family of 4 to support you’re left wondering how did this happen so quickly. Have some compassion. I said I understand the SIP, let’s stop gathering in large groups- of course you have to do that.
The people who are replying to my post are completely missing my point and cherry picking my info to suit their narrative, which btw is exactly what the media is doing. The media is creating more hysteria and panic amongst the masses (for a change) and that’s my point.
Politicians are more concerned about their image and re-election than doing what’s right. If the President truly cared about a plan of action he’d appoint a medical expert to run his Coronavirus task force instead of his son-in-law! Jared Kushner head of Coronavirus task force- I mean, really!? Surreal! SMH
I agree w your common sense ayr. Some people are twisting your words. Some are just dumb.
“That’s what I’m tired of- media outlets being irresponsible with information. Fanning the flames, adding to the panic and hysteria.”-your words..
is governor irresponsible for telling us what scientists have come up with? should he lie and tell us there is no pandemic? should media twist and hide what governor said? every year news outlets tell us to get flu shots but they shouldn’t? make some sense!
A full season = however many days there are in a season I would think.
My thought too. Say they play 81 games. Just double (or whatever ratio corresponds back to 162 games)the days spent on the roster in that time and it all works out.
MLB should be fortunate that the outbreak in the US started a month or 3 weeks before the start of the season. I think the season would’ve canceled completely if this occurred during the 1st few months of the season like college baseball season. I think they could still start the season in early June and get about 110 games in, albeit with no fans in attendance until later in the summer possibility
i dont see them restarting with no fans. if they dont feel comfortable enough to have fans at this point i dont see them playing at all.
No matter how many games they play under 162 there are going to be some clowns that say the 2020 champ will have an asterisk.
If it deserves an asterisk, then how about the 1981 season when each division had 2 winners, like they played a split season and neither was 81G since it was a strike season?
Figured this would come up, along with the playoff affected season (95 or 6 think it was. Late 90’s anyway).
No special tags. A winner will be a winner if they play.
Asterisk if ‘their’ team doesn’t win it. Should help teams that rely heavily on their bullpen. In 1981 the Reds had the best record in the NL. But didn’t make the post season.
this is not a strime shortened season and there is no reason to be making it have two halves.
So worried about what happens for these people. Min salary near $600k, how are they going to cope??
I am sure the two sides will come to some agreement. Just hopes this all passes soon enough to have a season.
As much as I love the game of baseball…….wgafrn.
What? I’m supposed to stop worrying about the pandemic and my family and worry about union issues. Geez…
I think that MLB is going to have to explore playing games in controlled environments without fans if it wants to have a season, if that is viable health wise. Otherwise, if they are waiting for fans to be able to attend the games en mas, we have to be looking at mid-July for a start of the season at the earliest. I mean, they are saying that this thing might not peak until late May/early June.
They still have to travel, stay in hotels, etc. Not going to happen.
Too much whining about “how are we gonna make it fair?” and “how do we expand 2020 to make it look normal?” None of this is fair or normal. For anyone. If they end up playing 100 games, you get 100 games of service time. The end. They’re already overpaid, I don’t want to hear them quibble over more money than hard working people will make in their whole lives.
There are only 1200 players on 40 man rosters. Ask yourself how many young people would dedicate their lives to learning the game if there wasn’t the possibility of a gold ring at the end.
BTW, the player’s share of revenue has been declining for years, while revenues and team values have grown exponentially. I think top free agents get overpaid for the value they provide; average players don’t get paid enough.
Just wait until late April/early May and play without fans until late summer or early fall where most of this crap will blow over. Once we hit late summer or early fall, allow fans to enter the stadium. Make up the rest of the games in multiple double headers in August and September.
Dealing with incentives, or arbitration formulas, it is a matter of working out a mathematical formula that’s acceptable to both sides. Service time could be a bigger issue. Every player has a window of opportunity to maximize earnings before he ages out of the game, so delaying free agency by a year could mean millions in lost earnings.
Hey, they have a lot of time on their hands; why not negotiate a new CBA while they’re at it? The owners probably wouldn’t mind; they have a new found “hammer” for the negotiations (I can’t see any court or arbiter ruling that the players have to be paid during the “emergency”). And service time, again, can be a negotiating tool.
Also left unsaid is the disparity in lost revenues these teams are suffering, and its effect on Revenue Sharing. Every day that’s lost means lost revenue for the A’s and Rays, but TONS more lost revenue for the Red Sox and Dodgers. That could have a huge effect on Revenue Sharing for 2020 and perhaps beyond. The big market-revenue payers . are going to want (maybe even need) some way to recoup their losses.
All that other stuff, scheduling, standings, who makes the playoffs, etc? The players really don’t care, neither do the owners (as long as there’s enough playoff games). Some high school kid can make up the rules; it won’t bother anybody.
There’s also TONS of salary that the Red Sox/Dodgers aren’t paying out right now.
Is MLB considering a ‘Toilet Paper Give-Away Day’….Or is that just a rumor?
With images of players from the other team on every sheet!
I don’t believe there will be a MLB season this year. And I don’t feel much sympathy for the owners (rolling in dough) or the MLB players (who, if they haven’t put aside money from their exorbitant salaries) should be ashamed. There won’t be an income stream and MLB players shouldn’t get paid. However, Minor League players, umpires, team personnel should be compensated.
Service time should simply be started again when the/a season restarts. And the draft should go on as planned.
Look, no one is happy about this, but there are many more people in dire straights than MLB players and owners. They are highly-paid entertainers or owners of entertainment franchises. They get zero sympathy.