Major League Baseball season looking more likely

AFP
Hopes are rising for a 2020 Major league Baseball season after a new proposal that appears to address player salary concerns (AFP Photo/TOM PENNINGTON)
Hopes are rising for a 2020 Major league Baseball season after a new proposal that appears to address player salary concerns (AFP Photo/TOM PENNINGTON)

Los Angeles (AFP) - Major League Baseball edged closer to a 2020 season startup Wednesday as commissioner Rob Manfred said he and union chief Tony Clark had developed a potential "framework" for an agreement.

Financial issues have bogged down attempts to get a shortened season underway more than two months after Opening Day was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Manfred, who said Monday that there was a "real risk" that the 2020 season would be wiped out, said he met with Clark for several hours in Phoenix on Tuesday.

"We left that meeting with a jointly developed framework that we agreed could form the basis of an agreement and subject to conversations with our respective constituents.

"I summarized that framework numerous times in the meeting and sent Tony a written summary today. Consistent with our conversations yesterday, I am encouraging the Clubs to move forward and I trust Tony is doing the same."

The Los Angeles Times reported that the latest proposal from MLB includes full prorated salaries for players.

Players had balked at three prior proposals that called for them to receive only a percentage of their salaries, prorated by number of games played.

The plan calls for 60 regular-season games plus a 16-team playoff field, with play to begin on July 19 or 20, the Times said.

The Major League Baseball Players Association is expected to see a longer regular season, and one person familiar with the talks told the newspaper that there was as yet "no agreement, even in principle."

Players have argued that an agreement on prorated salaries reached on March 26 did not require them to accept further wage reductions.

MLB appears to have come around to that view, with New York Yankees president Randy Levine saying in an interview on Tuesday that under the March 26 agreement "the commissioner has the right to schedule the games as long as the players are paid pro rata."

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