Major League Baseball finally turned up its collective spigot Friday, although it still didn’t meet its players’ demand of full-blast.
According to multiple industry sources, commissioner Rob Manfred’s third formal offer to the MLB Players Association, as the two sides try to negotiate the terms of a 2020 restart, features a 72-game regular season, running from July 14 to September 27, in which the players would be guaranteed 70 percent of their prorated salary and would receive another 10 percent — plus an additional $50 million pool to be divvied up — if the postseason concludes as scheduled.
The package also includes an expansion of rosters to 29 players for the season’s first month, an opportunity for more players to earn major-league salaries and service time.
This offer expires on Sunday. Manfred owns the right to unilaterally institute a season of any length as long as the players receive their full prorated pay, and Manfred has floated the notion of holding a season of 40-to-50 games at that cost to the union. While the commissioner owns a history of preferring collectively bargained deals to unilateral implementation, time is running out to get the season going in some form.
In the players’ most recent counteroffer, they asked for an 89-game season with the players getting their prorated pay. The owners’ first two proposals, plus a revenue-sharing idea that was floated but never reached the players, all featured very similar dollar totals presented differently. While this offer at least moves the ball in the right direction, the players have been resolute in their belief that they deserve their full prorated pay given that they are the ones putting themselves in harm’s way when the coronavirus is clearly not gone. Furthermore, the players believe that the owners haven’t demonstrated, via documentation, that they face the financial distress they claim.