The 2020 MLB Draft came and went this week and while it wasn’t what we are normally used to, it was a welcomed distraction from the bad blood of the negotiations between MLB and the Players Association. The Atlanta Braves came away with four college players (3 pitchers and an outfielder) in their draft haul. While it wasn’t head turning in terms of big name talent, it does include some intriguing players. Below is a roundup of reaction and analysis on the 2020 Draft.
With the draft now in the books, teams will turn their attention to the undrafted free agent market that will open on Sunday at 9 a.m. ET. Remember, these signings are capped at a bonus of $20K so the higher profile players that went undrafted will be heading to college. Still there will be a good number of players available and some talent as well. ESPN.com put together a list of the best undrafted prospects as did Baseball America.
As always, you can keep track of the of all of the Braves’ signings with our handy signing tracker.
That is pretty much it for the fun stuff. What we have left is nothing but a further example of how much bad blood exists right now between the league and the union.
As expected, Major League Baseball submitted a 72-game proposal to the union on Friday. That proposal included the players receiving 70 percent of prorated salaries for the regular season and 80 percent if the postseason is completed. Upon further examination, this is pretty close to the same proposal that the league has given in three different proposals with varying season lengths. USA Today reported that the players have until Sunday to accept or reject the deal but it won’t take nearly that long to do so.
It expired as soon as they hit send. https://t.co/vK5UrRANrb— Trevor Williams (@MeLlamoTrevor) June 12, 2020
The players remain committed to receiving their full prorated salaries that was included in their agreement with the league back in March. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that the league is very interested in negotiating an agreement and that we are likely to be left with a 48-game season that will be enacted by the commissioner but more on that in a moment.
If you are looking for an example of just how tense and petty these negotiations have gotten, then look no further than Ken Rosenthal’s report in The Athletic from Friday evening.Major League Baseball’s proposal included a five-page letter from deputy commissioner Dan Halem where he addresses top union negotiator Bruce Meyer that details three months worth of the league’s frustration with the union’s approach to the talks.
“I must have misinterpreted your June 6th letter,” Halem tells Meyer. “I thought the letter reflected a willingness on the part of the Association to discuss in good faith the economics necessary for the Office of the Commissioner to waive its right under the March Agreement to resume the 2020 season only when there are, among other things, no restrictions on fan access. After reviewing the Association’s counterproposal, I stand corrected.”
Which of course prompted a response from the Players Association.
“Mr. Halem’s self-serving letter is filled with inaccuracies and incomplete facts. We will respond to that and the league’s latest proposal in short order. It should not be forgotten however that even MLB admits that our March Agreement does not require players to agree to further pay cuts. Indeed, as Mr. Halem agreed in a May 18 letter to Tony Clark: ‘The Association is free to take the position that players are unwilling to accept further reductions.’ Pat Houlihan, MLB legal counsel, similarly acknowledged in his May 22 letter to the Players Association. ‘We agree with the Association that, under the Agreement, players are not required to accept less than their full prorated salary.’’
Around and around we go!
At this point it feels inevitable that the commissioner Manfred will enact the 48-game regular season which will no doubt prompt the union to file a grievance because the original March agreement gave the commissioner the power to set the schedule but he must also make the “best efforts to play as many games as possible.” Setting a 48-game schedule in the middle of June would seem to fall short of a best effort.
With bad blood on both sides I wonder if this problem can be solved at all if the powers that be remain in place? Clearing the deck on both sides of the fence might be our only path to an agreement that is in the best interest of the game and its fans. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen though.