2:10pm: The MLBPA has issued the following statement:
We delivered to Major League Baseball today a counterproposal based on a 70-game season, which among a number of issues, includes expanded playoffs for both 2020 and 2021. We believe this offer represents the basis for an agreement on resumption of play.
Notably, Clark looks to be throwing Manfred’s exact wording — “the basis for an agreement” — back at the league. The subtext, of course, is that the 60-game framework was viewed no more an agreement by the union than this 70-game proposal will be viewed as such by ownership.
1:35pm: The union’s proposal would see the regular season run July 19 through Sept. 30, Passan tweets. It also includes $50MM in playoff revenue, a share of postseason TV revenue in 2021, the aforementioned forgiveness of the salary advance for the league’s lower-compensated players, a universal DH (presumably in 2020-21) and both sides waiving the right to a grievance.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that the union also proposed a neutral site framework for the postseason, if needed. They also agreed to advertising patches on uniforms over the next two seasons.
1:20pm: SNY’s Andy Martino reports that there’s frustration among some owners that they’re receiving a counter to what they didn’t believe was a proposal (Twitter thread). Ownership believed a deal/framework was in place at 60 games earlier in the week. Martino adds that Manfred had to “really twist” the arm of some owners to get to that 60-game mark, so it seems a straightforward “meet in the middle,” 65-game concept isn’t popular among ownership.
The MLBPA, however, saw the 60-game prorated framework as a proposal — not an agreement. Of note, even commissioner Rob Manfred himself said this week that his meeting with union chief Tony Clark produced a “a jointly developed framework that we agreed could form the basis of an agreement.” That quote in and of itself falls short of indicating that an agreement was firmly reached.
1:00pm: The Major League Baseball Players Association has finalized yet another counter-proposal for the league, according to Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com (Twitter thread). The union’s latest proposal is for 70 games and includes a “split of playoff revenues,” per Passan and Rogers. The league will likely make another counter before any terms are agreed upon.
Earlier this week, ownership proposed a 60-game season with prorated salaries, while the MLBPA reportedly continued to hold out hope for a longer season. The MLBPA’s last formal proposal to the league called for 89 games, so this latest proposal marks a notable drop from that point. Other factors have begun to surface in the back-and-forth, such as a universal DH in 2020 and 2021, expanded 16-team playoffs in each of the next two seasons, a joint fund for social justice initiatives and the partial forgiveness of the $170MM advance that was already paid out to players as a compromise to receive service time in the event of a canceled season.
It seems as though talks are reaching their apex, although that sense has existed at various points in the past. We’re already well past the June 10 target date for a relaunched training camp, and the once-hoped-for July 4 start date is clearly out of the question at this juncture. But the two sides still remain hopeful that a mid-July start date can be realized, with expanded postseason play running through late October. A middle ground in the mid-60s seems like it should be plausible at this point, although it’s best to temper any expectations for straightforward compromise between these two parties at this point.
As ESPN’s Buster Olney observes on Twitter, though, the difference between a 60-game and 70-game season checks in at roughly $245-250MM in total revenue — or $8.33MM per team. When we’ve reached the point where the gap between the two sides is comparable to what multiple individual free agents were promised this winter (think Stephen Strasburg, Anthony Rendon or, on a larger scale, Gerrit Cole) — it seems things should be able to come together quickly. Still, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that there’s little indication a resolution will be reached “quickly.” Still, it’s nearly unfathomable to think that the two sides could be as few as 10 games apart in their proposals and not eventually strike some kind of agreement.