MLBPA owners

MLBPA, owners clear final hurdles; players set to report to camps July 1 – ESPN

6:21 PM ET

  • ESPN News Services

Baseball is officially back.

The Major League Baseball Players Association and the league ironed out the final details Tuesday ahead of a return to play that will see players report to camps by July 1 and play a 60-game season starting July 23 or 24 in empty ballparks.

The last hurdle — an agreement on health and safety protocols — was cleared Tuesday night, some three-plus months after spring training was stopped because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“All remaining issues have been resolved and Players are reporting to training camps,” the union tweeted Tuesday night.

The regular-season schedule will feature both divisional and interleague play. Teams will play within their corresponding geographic divisions to lessen travel. The league said the majority of teams are expected to conduct preseason training in their home cities.

Each team will play 10 games against each of its four division rivals and four games against each of the five clubs in the corresponding division in the other league, according to details obtained by The Associated Press.

Each team is scheduled to make only one trip to each city it visits during MLB’s shortest season since 1878, a schedule of such brevity that some fans might question the legitimacy of the records.

The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers reopened as 7-2 favorites to win the World Series title, according to Caesars Sportsbook. The Houston Astros are third favorites, at 11-1.

“Major League Baseball is thrilled to announce that the 2020 season is on the horizon,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “We have provided the Players Association with a schedule to play 60 games and are excited to provide our great fans with Baseball again soon.”

Tuesday’s agreement marked the end of a lengthy — and often contentious — battle between the sides.

On Monday, the league’s owners voted to implement a 60-game season that would begin around July 24. After the vote, MLB asked the union whether players would be able to report to training camps by July 1 and whether the union would agree on the health and safety protocols.

It remains to be seen which players will report to work. High-risk individuals are allowed to opt out and still receive salary and service time, but others who sit out will get neither money nor the service credit needed to be eligible for free agency and salary arbitration.

After nearly three months of fruitless negotiations, MLB opted to use the right given to it in the parties’ March 26 agreement to impose a schedule of its desired length. By choosing a season of 60 games, the league will pack in about as many games as it can through Sept. 27, the league’s self-imposed cutoff for the regular season.

Additionally, the 60-game season could serve as a buffer against a grievance by the MLBPA, which, in the case of a potential implementation, has been expected to charge the league with not fulfilling its duty to complete as full a season as possible. The league could file a grievance against the union as well.

Under the imposed season, players will receive the full prorated share of their salaries, or about 37% of their full-season salaries and $1.5 billion total. The postseason will remain at 10 teams. Players will not receive forgiveness on the $170 million salary advance they received as part of the March agreement and will get no money from the postseason.

Players will not agree to wearing on-field microphones. Teams will not wear advertising patches on their uniforms.

In a twist, the sides expanded the designated hitter to games involving National League teams for the first time and instituted the innovation of starting extra innings with a runner on second base. There is still talk of a possible playoff expansion; the rejected deal called for 16 teams.

The trade deadline will be Aug. 31, and the deadline to be in an organization for postseason eligibility will be Sept. 15. Teams can resume making trades Friday, when rosters will no longer be frozen.

Active rosters will be 30 players during the first two weeks of the season, 28 during the second two weeks and 26 after that. They will not expand to 28 on Sept. 1, as originally intended this year.

With no minor leagues, each team will be allowed to retain 60 players, including a taxi squad. Up to three players from the taxi squad can travel with a team to a game, and one of the three must be a catcher.

Where the Toronto Blue Jays will play remains to be seen. An Ontario health official said MLB has not submitted a plan that local health officials need to allow the Blue Jays to play in Toronto.

ESPN’s Jesse Rogers and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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MLBPA votes

MLBPA votes to reject MLB’s latest offer to play 60 games – ESPN

The Major League Baseball Players Association executive board on Monday voted to reject MLB’s 60-game offer with expanded playoffs, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers, putting commissioner Rob Manfred in position to implement a schedule of his choosing — likely between 50 and 60 games.

The vote was 33-5 against, sources said. The MLBPA executive board is made up of 30 player representatives and an eight-member subcommittee.

The 60-game framework germinated from a meeting last week between Manfred and union executive director Tony Clark. After MLB rejected a 70-game proposal from the MLBPA, the league told the union that a negotiated agreement would follow the 60-game framework, which included expanded playoffs and a universal designated hitter.

Rather than accept the framework, the players shot it down and said in a statement that they expect Manfred to abide by their March 26 agreement, which allows the commissioner to set a schedule and guarantees the players fully prorated pay.

“The MLBPA Executive Board met multiple times in recent days to assess the status of our effort to resume the 2020 season,” the union’s statement said. “Earlier this evening, the full Board reaffirmed the players’ eagerness to return to work as soon and as safely as possible. To that end we anticipate finalizing a comprehensive set of health and safety protocols with Major League Baseball in the coming days, and we await word from the league on the resumption of spring training camps and a proposed 2020 schedule.

“While we had hoped to reach a revised back to work agreement with the league, the Players remain fully committed to proceeding under our current agreement and getting back on the field for the fans, for the game and for each other.”

A 75% yes vote among owners is required to pass whatever plan Manfred chooses to implement. It would require eight no votes to cancel the season altogether.

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer, who has been vocal on the subject of restarting the season, tweeted in the aftermath of the vote: “it’s absolute death for this industry to keep acting as it has been. Both sides.

“We’re driving the bus straight off a cliff. How is this good for anyone involved? Covid 19 already presented a lose lose lose situation and we’ve somehow found a way to make it worse. Incredible.”

It’s absolute death for this industry to keep acting as it has been. Both sides. We’re driving the bus straight off a cliff. How is this good for anyone involved? Covid 19 already presented a lose lose lose situation and we’ve somehow found a way to make it worse. Incredible. ??‍♂️

— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) June 22, 2020

By rejecting the proposal, the players retain their right to grieve the terms of the late March agreement between the two sides. After spring training was shut down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, the league and the players agreed that when play picked up, players would be paid on a prorated basis and would discuss the economic feasibility of playing without fans in the stands. The players’ association has maintained that discussion had nothing to do with their pay. That disagreement has led to weeks of acrimony between the sides.

The union’s executive board met Saturday and elected to delay its vote on the league’s latest proposal in order to collect new data regarding testing for COVID-19 after several recent outbreaks at training facilities in Florida and Arizona and in major league cities, sources told ESPN. All MLB training camps were temporarily closed after multiple teams reported positive tests on Friday, and the league announced Saturday that a restart of training would occur only in teams’ home cities. The players then delayed the vote again Sunday, sources said, after Manfred made late tweaks to the proposal, offering in an email to Clark to cancel expanded playoffs and the universal designated hitter for 2021 if a full season isn’t played in 2020.

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MLBPA Sources

Sources — MLBPA proposes 89-game season and expanded playoffs – ESPN

8:00 PM ET

  • Jeff PassanESPN


      ESPN MLB insider

      Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports”

The Major League Baseball Players Association has made a proposal to MLB for a season of 89 games, with a full prorated share of salary and expanded playoffs, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN on Tuesday.

It would bring the sides closer to a potential deal because it is 25 games fewer than the union’s most recent proposal of 114 games at full pro rata, sources told ESPN.

But an MLB source familiar with the negotiations told ESPN’s Karl Ravech that the proposal is a nonstarter.

“Out of concern for the players’ health, extending the regular season past Sept. 27 won’t happen,” the source told Ravech. “There is a window of playing between 60 [and] 70 regular-season games, but pay still remains an issue.”

MLB on Monday proposed a 76-game season that would cover up to 75% of players’ prorated salaries.

This newest MLBPA proposal would have the season start on July 10 and end on Oct. 11, a source told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers. It also would expand the postseason to 16 teams (eight in each league) for 2020 and 2021.

Like MLB’s proposal on Monday, this offer has the players sharing in a pool of at least $50 million if the playoffs are played without fans.

The proposal includes opt-out rights for all players. Players who are “high-risk” or reside with a “high-risk” individual are entitled to full service and salary in the event that they opt out.

Players with no high-risk concerns may opt out without service or salary. High-risk qualification is to be determined by the MLBPA in consultation with medical experts.

Players also are committing to providing broadcast enhancements for both regular-season and postseason games.

MLB’s Monday proposal to players on a return-to-play economic package offered a higher potential salary than the previous plan but less guaranteed money over a 76-game season.

Players and officials at the MLBPA quickly scoffed at the proposal, which was obtained by ESPN, continuing the gridlock that has prevented MLB from returning after the coronavirus-related delay to the beginning of its season.

If the sides are unable to agree to a deal, the league has the ability to implement a schedule of its desired length. It has focused recently on a potential 48-game season, sources told ESPN.

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MLBPA Season

MLBPA proposal for 2020 MLB season includes 114-game season and player opt-out, per report – CBS Sports

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association are about to enter their fourth week of negotiations concerning the potential to play a modified 2020 season in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus. On Sunday afternoon, the players association delivered a proposal to the league outlining its vision for the year, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Per Passan, the union’s proposal calls for a 114-game season that would begin on June 30 and end on Oct. 31. (The postseason would then take place throughout November.) 

Other key parts of the plan include every player having the right to opt out of participating (with those who are deemed “high-risk” receiving salary, and others receiving only service time), and a salary deferral plan in the event that the postseason is canceled due to another wave of COVID-19. 

The proposal also calls for two years of expanded playoffs, and for the players to receive a $100 million advance during the second spring training. 

Thus far, the main sticking points in talks between the league and the union have concerned the well-being of players and essential workers — including testing and health protocols — and the players’ financial compensation. Owners have requested that players take greater pay cuts than the ones they already agreed to in March due to the alleged revenue losses stemming from having to play games in front of empty stands. 

Earlier on Sunday, our Mike Axisa detailed why this coming week is a vital one for talks. The league is believed to want an agreement in place to begin the season in late June or early July. That would necessitate beginning the second exhibition season sometime over the next two to three weeks, so as to allow pitchers a proper ramp-up before embarking on the season. Of course, the league could always push the start date back further if talks necessitate it. 

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MLBPA Sources

Sources – MLBPA to counter MLB proposal with more games, full prorated salaries – ESPN

12:26 AM ET

  • Jeff PassanESPN


      ESPN MLB insider

      Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports”

The Major League Baseball Players Association expects to counter MLB’s economic proposal by the end of this week with a plan that includes more than 100 games and a guarantee of full prorated salaries for the 2020 season, sources familiar with union discussions told ESPN.

The disagreement over economics has ratcheted up in recent days after the league’s first proposal Tuesday rankled players. On multiple phone calls Wednesday, players essentially pledged to ignore the league’s proposal and instead offer one of their own, according to sources familiar with the calls.

Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer, one of eight players on the MLBPA’s powerful executive subcommittee, tweeted Wednesday that the significant pay cuts in the league’s proposal would not be accepted and the union would remain committed to players receiving their full prorated salaries.

“After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no need to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions,” Scherzer wrote.

— Max Scherzer (@Max_Scherzer) May 28, 2020

MLB’s proposal called for pay reductions on top of players’ already prorated salaries, which would be scaled to reflect the number of games played. In MLB’s 82-game proposal, Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout would be paid less than $6 million, compared to the $19 million-plus he would receive prorated. Although the pay cuts would be less severe for a large swath of lower-paid players, the union’s rancor was clear and immediate.

The union’s desire to play more games could be used as a chip for a negotiation to reach a return-to-play deal. For now, however, if players are being paid on a prorated basis, more games will lead to larger salaries for players. The league has balked at a longer schedule, fearful that a potential second wave of the coronavirus could wipe out the postseason — and the lucrative national television money that comes with it.

In a presentation to players, MLB said it would lose a significant amount of money if games are played in 2020 and players receive their full pro rata salary. The union has held firm that a March 27 agreement between the parties ensures the players their prorated share, while the league believes that language in the agreement calls for a good-faith negotiation in the event that games are played in empty stadiums.

The union remains skeptical of the data the league shared that showed significant losses across the sport and recently submitted additional document requests to the league in search of information about local television revenue, national television revenue, sponsorship revenue and projections from teams.

“We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received,” Scherzer wrote in his statement. “I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.”

MLB has proposed playing in front of no fans in games starting the first week in July, though that timeline could be pushed back if labor discussions stretch on and preclude spring training 2.0 starting in mid-June.

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