2:48pm: Jeff Passan of ESPN has more info on roster size: Teams would be able to carry 30 players for the first two weeks, 28 for the next two and 26 for the rest of the season. They’d be able to use a total of 60 players during the season.
2:45pm: The deadline for the union to accept this 72-game offer is Sunday night, per Nightengale, who adds that players who fear contracting the coronavirus can choose not to play. However, only high-risk players would still get paid and accrue service time. If the union approves, which seems unlikely, the league will announce a season timeline and a resumption of a 21-day spring training within 48 hours, Rosenthal reports. This plan would also suspend draft-pick compensation for the 2020-21 offseason and expand the playoffs to as many as eight teams per league. If the playoffs are completed, players would receive 83 percent of prorated salaries.
2:33pm: MLB’s proposal promises players $1.5 billion if there’s a postseason, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. It’s $1.27 billion for the regular season, which would begin July 14 and conclude Sept. 27. Teams would be able to carry 29 players on their roster during the first month. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic adds that players receive 70 percent of prorated salaries for a 72-game regular season and 80 percent if the playoffs take place.
10:39am: In its latest offer to Major League Baseball, the MLBPA proposed an 89-game regular season with fully prorated salaries and playoff expansion. The league is expected to make a counter-proposal today, though it doesn’t seem like one that will move the needle enough for the union. MLB plans to offer the players a season of 70-plus games with 80 to 85 percent pro rata salaries and a playoff pool bonus, Karl Ravech of ESPN reports.
It’s expected to be a 72-game offer, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, who adds the league will “significantly raise” the players’ share if the COVID-19 pandemic forces the cancellation of the postseason. However, “there’s no confidence” that the players will say yes to the league’s newest attempt, according to Heyman.
Prorated salaries continue to serve as the main roadblock between the parties, considering the union has insisted on receiving 100 percent of that pay for the season. With that in mind, the players obviously want as many games as possible to occur. The league, on the other hand, seems more willing to play a shorter schedule because of financial losses that will come as a result of a lack of fans in the stands. MLB could reportedly lose in the billions if the coronavirus prevents spectators at games. Furthermore, owners such as the Cardinals’ Bill DeWitt Jr. and the Cubs’ Tom Ricketts have publicly raised concerns over profits in recent weeks.
To the bewilderment of many, DeWitt claimed earlier this week that the baseball industry “isn’t very profitable.” Last month, Ricketts said that “about 70 percent of the revenue that comes into our organization comes in on day of game.”
Despite the ongoing disagreements between owners and players, commissioner Rob Manfred insisted this week, “We’re going to play baseball in 2020 — 100 percent.”
Under the agreement the owners and players made in March, Manfred has the ability to choose the length of a season (perhaps one as few as 40-plus games). While neither side wants it to come to that, the 11th hour is approaching, and if the owners and players don’t see eye to eye in talks soon, Manfred could take matters into his own hands in the coming days. Such a move likely would not bode well with the current collective bargaining agreement set to expire after 2021, but Manfred may decide to risk it if leads to any kind of a 2020 season.