Earlier tonight, the MLB Players Association voted against a MLB proposal to start the 2020 season — seemingly setting the stage for commissioner Rob Manfred to order a season schedule based upon the late-March agreement between the parties. But there’s no imminent plan for Manfred to do so, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports (via Twitter).
Just what Manfred and the owners are planning next isn’t yet clear. Further delay could provide some public relations cover for ownership, which has sought to drive down labor costs by staging a shorter season. But such a tactic risks strengthening the players’ case in a potential future grievance action. The agreement required Manfred to make “best efforts to play as many games as possible.”
Manfred and all thirty team control persons will speak on a conference call this evening, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter). But the league’s next move may not even be decided on the call. One might have anticipated that there’d be greater internal clarity by this point, but it seems the league still has a need for further deliberation before it decides how to handle the players’ (widely anticipated) rejection.