There has been “no evidence of progress” in the discussions between MLB and the MLBPA as the two sides negotiate the economic provisions of a potential 2020 season, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network. As such, there’s no reason to believe the parties will reach an agreement ahead of the “soft” June 1 deadline.
That said, Heyman adds that there’s still hope to begin the season on the weekend of July 4 as intended, though for that to become a reality the two sides will need to come to an agreement in the next ten or so days. Heyman cites June 5-9 as the target dates for a deal.
In a later Tweet, Heyman states that despite the lack of progress in negotiations, there seems to be a prevailing sense of optimism that ultimately a deal will be reached; both players and owners recognize the steep consequences that a cancelled season could have for the sport. Frankly, there’s too much to lose if the parties can’t find common ground, and such an outcome would certainly cause considerable short- and long-term damage to MLB.
After the owners submitted their economic proposal on Tuesday, the players came away thoroughly dissatisfied with their side of the deal, namely taking issue with the sliding scale pay cuts that would further reduce player salaries. It’s also been reported that players are also in favor of a season with 100 games or more, up from the 82 proposed by MLB. However, given the league’s insistence on wrapping up the regular season by October 1 for various reasons—as reported by Heyman—that scenario seems far-fetched.
While it’s encouraging to hear that there’s optimism that the two sides can iron out their differences and arrive at a compromise, the fact remains that time is running out; if Independence Day is to remain a realistic target date, there’s just about a week to reach an agreement. After that point, the feasibility of a substantial season begins to decline.
Needless to say, both sides will need to make concessions in order to ensure a 2020 season is played. And with the negotiating parties still far apart, it might be a big ask to close that gap in short order. For the time being, we’ll wait with bated breath to see if the players and owners can find common ground.