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MLBPA Submits 2020 Season Proposal

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Not looking good, folks

2018 BBWAA Awards Dinner

According to a number of reports, the MLBPA submitted it’s proposal for the potential 2020 season to the owners on Sunday.

The Proposal

This proposal includes a 114-game season beginning June 30th and ending on Halloween. There are a number of potential issues with this timeline, one of which is that the owners have been claiming that they will lose money for every game played in 2020 without gate revenue from fans in attendance. Another issue is that the owners want to make sure that the playoffs are not disrupted by a potential second wave of COVID-19 in the fall, since the playoffs are a huge source of national TV revenue. Finally, this proposal would mean that the season would start in one month, meaning that “Spring Training” would need to begin next week, making the timeline very tight for an agreement between the MLBPA and owners.

A somewhat controversial inclusion to this proposal is two years of expanded playoffs. This proposal is annoying to many fans, but might make sense for both sides financially, with the owners receiving additional TV revenue from the playoffs, and more players receiving playoff bonuses.

One final contentious point in the proposal is another $100 million of salary advances in the new training camp.

One apparent olive branch extended towards the owners is the potential to defer some salary money in the event of a postseason cancellation. These deferrals would apply only to contracts of over $10 million annually before being prorated and would total $100 million. These deferred payments would occur in November of 2021 and 2022. This is likely also an attempt to protect less wealthy players like pre-arbitration players like Mike Soroka, or players on cheaper contracts such as Charlie Culberson.

Owner Response

According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, sources on the ownership side of the negotiation have described this proposal as a “non-starter” and have remarked “no progress.” This means that both sides have responded to the other side’s proposal by calling it a nonstarter, which is not a great sign for fans that want to see baseball this season.

Both Heyman and Jeff Passan of ESPN have commented with very different tones that there remains about another week for a deal to be done. The good news is that there is, in fact, about a week for more negotiation to occur, so it isn’t necessarily this proposal or bust. The bad news is that there is only about a week left in which negotiations can occur, when the MLBPA took five days to respond to the owners proposal and both sides seem strongly opposed to the other side’s ideas.