The negotiations are finally over.
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred is expected to implement a 2020 season. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the season will consist of 60 regular-season games, but the league has not yet confirmed that detail.
The league has asked players to respond to this as well as to agree to health and safety protocols by 5 pm Tuesday. If the players accept, they are expected to report to camps by July 1. The March 26 agreement permitted Manfred to unilaterally impose a season if both sides could not agree on a deal to begin the 2020 season.
According to Nightengale, the season is expected to begin between July 24-26.
None of this is official until the players agree to both health and safety protocols as well as to report to camps by July 1.
This comes after the MLB Players Association voted to reject the league’s proposal of a 60-game season which includes expanded playoffs and a universal DH. If the union agreed to the league’s 60-game proposal, both sides would waive their right to file a grievance against one another.
The big difference between the union accepting the league’s 60-game season and Manfred implementing a 60-game season is that the union retains the right to file a grievance against the owners to recover wages, claiming they have negotiated in bad faith as their intentions were not to play as many games as possible.
There will not be expanded playoffs in 2020 because the players had to sign-off on them. Per Nightengale, the universal DH will be implemented for the 2020 season as part of the health and safety protocols. It is unlikely to make a return in 2021, but it will probably be apart of a new collective bargaining agreement. The current one expires at the end of 2021 and negotiations are sure to be just as tense as they have been in the past few weeks.
Keep in mind, this just marks one completed step in the process of getting MLB back onto the field. Last Friday, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reported that eight members of the Phillies organization that are currently living in the Clearwater area had tested positive for the coronavirus. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported Sunday that across the board, there were 40 positive cases in MLB last week.
The biggest obstacle standing between staging a season and the outright cancellation of the season is the virus itself. Strict health protocols must be in place and everyone involved in the process of putting on a season has to take as many precautions as they possibly can. More positive cases are unfortunately inevitable and the league has to determine how many positive cases will it take to completely shut down play.
MLB released the following statement:
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