The MLB Players Association has responded to the league’s proposed health and safety guidelines, Evan Drellich of The Athletic was among those to report on Twitter. Last week, MLB sent the union a 67-page document outlining suggested protocols for safely starting the 2020 regular season and minimizing the spread of COVID-19 once play is underway.
There’s no indication at present that there are any particular areas of tension, let alone intractable disagreements, in this arena. Matters of compensation remain to be discussed and carry much greater potential for serious clashes. (Indeed, the battle is already well underway.)
It seems the players are looking for a few changes after close review of the proposal. The players would prefer to have greater access to on-premises facilities (showers, etc.) as well as more frequent coronavirus testing, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter links).
A spokesperson told ESPN’s Jeff Passan (Twitter thread) that the MLBPA has been conferring with health experts and, on Monday this week, held a 3.5-hour video conference with more than 100 players to discuss the league’s suggested guidelines. Some players had already pushed back against some of the suggested restrictions, both in on-record statements and anonymously.
Odds are the league will be amenable to discussing changes of this kind. Team executives told Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic that the 67-page, league-issued guidelines are viewed as a “first draft” — one that will need some workshopping as the two sides seek an amenable compromise that works for all parties involved.
Finding agreement on health and safety is obviously necessary if there’s to be a return to play in 2020. There’s plenty of optimism on that score.
Perhaps there’s even some hope that cooperation on this front will pave the way for better relations on the financial side. But we’ve yet to see evidence of that. As Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports today (Twitter links), an internal union memo derides “misinformation” from the league and says the MLBPA still hasn’t received information it requested in mid-March regarding the economic feasibility of playing without fans.