UNITED STATES—Major League Baseball and their players have reached a standstill on the 2020 season after the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) rejected the league’s proposal of a 60-game season on Monday, June 22. The players association voted 33-5 against the proposal and expressed no interest in further negotiations with the league.
“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,” the MLBPA said in a statement.
As a result of the deal being unfulfilled, multiple reports indicate Commissioner Rob Manfred will mandate a season schedule that will include 60 games, with training camp set to start on July 1. The season is expected to start the weekend of July 24-26. By Tuesday, players must agree to play the season on the grounds that they will report to training camp by July 1 and agree on the Operation Manual for health and safety protocols.
MLB and the union have been talking for the past few weeks, where no agreement has been reached on how to move forward with the season. Despite leagues such as the NBA and MLS agreeing to a season restart and the NFL still expected to proceed as planned, MLB had no clear set for a return.
The proposal initially slated a 60-game regular season with fully prorated salaries and an expanded playoff format that would have featured 16 teams. The addition of a universal designated hitter would have also been implemented.
Last week, the player’s union counter-proposal suggested 70-games with fully-prorated salaries, $50 million in playoff bonuses and a 50/50 split of new postseason TV revenues in 2021. That agreement was shot down by the league without another counter-proposal before the latest deal was sent to a vote.
The players association noted that pay was not included in their decision to reject the proposal. Manfred is expected to release a schedule that is in line with the player’s request for a fully prorated salary.
By rejecting the deal, the players retained their right to file a grievance against the MLB, which is reported to happen as they claim the league violated provisions from their March agreement to work in good faith. In opposition, MLB is likely to file a grievance against the players for negotiating in bad faith.
MLB’s decision comes in light after the league ordered all spring-training sites to close after 40 MLB players and personnel tested positive for COVID-19 last week while working at the facilities. When the season returns, teams would report to a reset spring-training camp that will likely take place at the team’s home facilities.
Multiple players are expected to sit out during the shortened season and ongoing general labor disputes are likely to be carried over into the offseason among the league and the players. Upcoming free-agents are likely to be critically affected heading into an offseason with a damaged market.