Considering how far apart both sides are after offering up their latest rounds of respective proposals, there’s certainly not much time left to reach an agreement if there will be some semblance of an MLB season in 2020.
Last weekend, the players’ union finally countered with a plan of their own, which was light years away from ownership’s previous offering. Details of the players’ proposal included a 114-game regular season that would run through late October, an opt-out clause that would allow any player to sit out the season, and a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason was canceled.
Needless to say, that deal was scorned by MLB owners. On Monday, it was reported that ownership is toying with the concept of a 50-game season, going in the complete opposite direction of their once proposed 82-game campaign.
The owners are claiming that they need the players to take an additional pay cut, or else they would lose more money by playing those games instead of cancelling them completely. This theory backs sentiments by the owners which we highlighted on Sunday, when Buster Olney of ESPN stated that “there is a group of owners perfectly willing to shut down the season and to slash payroll costs and reduce losses.”
Perhaps one disparity is the idea that the players’ association is assuming that by playing more games, the owners make more money. However, ownership is saying that theory is not necessarily the case, because there will likely be a number of games played without fans in the stands, who are the driving force of MLB revenues. Therefore, there are a high number of owners who believe that playing fewer games means losing fewer dollars.
If there’s any consolation, the idea that both sides are willing to negotiate offers at least a little promise. Nevertheless, the fact that they are moving farther apart in some areas suggests cause for pessimism.
In his column on Tuesday, Jesse Rogers of ESPN wrote about how put themselves at greater risk for long-term injury or contraction of the coronavirus during what would be a small portion of a typical season. Additionally, Rogers also mentioned how such a shortened season could affect the salaries of players into the future, as teams and players would have to weigh such a small sample of statistics and/or progressions in future contract talks.
Either way, the clock continues to tick.
The 50-game season proposal by the owners has not officially been sent to the union as of Tuesday afternoon.