TODAY: Though the league’s proposal is still days away, there is “more optimism” that a deal can be reached to launch the 2020 season, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (Twitter links). While many details still stand in the way of an agreement, both the league and the MLBPA are aware of the stakes, both the financial cost if no games are played, as well as the “understanding on both sides what cancellation of [the] season would do to” damage baseball as a whole. To this end, Heyman writes that the “belief is, both sides will compromise” in some fashion from their current positions — the owners’ desire for a 50/50 revenue split and the players’ desire for prorated salaries.
MAY 22: There’s been an awful lot of debate surrounding the financials of a prospective 2020 MLB campaign, but the league has yet to issue a formal proposal to the MLB Players Association. That will finally take place on Tuesday, per Evan Drellich of The Athletic (via Twitter).
What isn’t yet known is just what sort of concept the league will ultimately put in front of the players. Prior talk of a 50/50 revenue-sharing plan for salaries was met with quite some angst from the labor perspective. That set off a round of bizarre debate regarding the meaning of the sides’ late-March preliminary agreement on resuming play in 2020.
The MLBPA position remains that the players have already agreed to a pro rata reduction of pay and shouldn’t be forced to give up more — unless, at least, the league comes forward with additional information demonstrating it would not be economically feasible to stage a season otherwise. The league side believes the original agreement really didn’t address the matter of salaries in the event that games are played without attending fans (as seems all but certain).
At the end of the day, regardless of the interpretation of the prior agreement, the sides will need to find common ground on salaries to get an already-challenging 2020 campaign rolling. And there are immense incentives for both sides to figure things out. It’d be a true shocker to see a stalemate hold up a resumption of play. The effort to avoid that mutually disastrous outcome — and to jockey for the best position short of it — will begin a new chapter upon the presentation of this new proposal on Tuesday.