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MLB discussing shorter season, pro-rated salaries for players, per report (UPDATED)

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2019 Major League Baseball Winter Meetings Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

The MLBPA presented a counter proposal to the league over the weekend and the owners may be ready to respond quickly. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the league intends to respond to the players with a proposal that includes a shorter season but one that would also pay the players a full prorated share of their salaries. (SEE BELOW)

Per Passan, the league’s proposal would include a significantly shorter season of something in the neighborhood of 50 regular-season games although the exact number is still being considered. The aim would still be for the season to start in early July.

A shorter season is something that MLB will continue to discuss with the union according to Passan but the league believes that the March agreement allows it to mandate a shorter season. Interesting that they didn’t initially think that the salary structure they agreed to with the players covered the idea of games being played in empty stadiums.

While a short season may not please a lot of people, some baseball is better than no baseball. Hopefully this news is a sign of progress that both sides are finally ready to negotiate.

In case you are wondering why a shorter schedule would be appealing to the league. Owners are claiming that they will lose significant money for every game played. If the players insist on the March agreement of prorated salaries, then the league can counter that by shortening the season. Here is an example of what that would look like via The Athletic’s Jim Bowden.

UPDATE - To clarify this earlier report, Passan now reports that the league does not intend to propose a 50 game schedule to the players but it has been considered as a last resort in the event the parties can’t come to a deal. The players’ proposed 114-game schedule would cover 70.3% of their original salaries. A 50-game schedule pro-rated would pay the players 30.8% of that number.