Around midday Wednesday, a story broke that Commissioner Rob Manfred had flown to Arizona to have a face-to-face meeting with MLB Players Association chief Tony Clark.
That’s significant in and of itself, especially during the novel coronavirus pandemic where most meetings have been over Zoom.
But after the extremely poor reaction Manfred got to his discussions of the 2020 season over the last few days, he apparently thought a face-to-face meeting was necessary.
And there’s a report that a proposal has been made for a 2020 season, to wit:
Source: MLB proposal includes:— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 17, 2020
•60 games in 70 days
•Season starting July 19th/20th
•Full Prorated Salary
•Expanded Playoffs in 2020 and 2021
•Waiving of any potential grievance
The one point that players insisted on has been included here — full prorated salaries for all games played. 60 games... well, that’s fewer than I would have wanted for a 2020 season, but owners have caused that reduction by dithering over the last few weeks.
The waiving of any potential grievance could be a holdup to making a deal for players. But what Evan Drellich says here is true:
There is no agreement between MLB and the MLBPA. MLB knows players must get full pro rata. League wants players to waive right to grieve. Expanded playoffs a part of this. Number of games is vital. Other issues, too. There is work to be done. But a pathway to a deal does exist.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 17, 2020
The “pathway” is the most important thing here. Players have always said they wanted full prorated salaries, and under this proposal, they’ll get them. The thing is, of course, the relatively small number of games. 60 games is 37 percent of the original schedule, so players would get 37 percent of their salaries. This is only a small bump up from previous ownership offers, which came in at about 33-35 percent. So maybe the players counter with a 70-game proposal starting a week earlier, which would still be feasible. 70 games is 43 percent of a season, and if owners are willing to play 60 games in 70 days — maybe 70 games in 77 days (one week earlier) is possible.
If you had asked me yesterday I would have said the chances of a 2020 MLB season were approaching zero. But now I see a way we could have one, and fairly soon.
But owners and players have to get this done, now, maybe even today.
Play ball, guys.