Major League Baseball doesn’t have a deal just yet to restart its season — and even worse, the two sides don’t seem to be seeing eye-to-eye again.
Progress came on Wednesday between the owners and the players union, following a face-to-face meeting between union chief Tony Clark and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. But after the union sent a new 70-game proposal for a 2020 season, the two sides are back to bickering.
In a statement, union chief Tony Clark said of the proposal: “We believe this offer represents the basis for an agreement on resumption of play.” However, USA Today is reporting that owners plan to “swiftly reject” the proposal. One report from the owners’ side called Thursday’s proposal a step backward. Manfred, meanwhile, said Thursday: “This needs to be over.”
Details on the latest proposal to restart MLB
ESPN’s Jeff Passan has the particulars on the latest proposal:
The Major League Baseball Players Association has finalized a proposal to MLB for a season in the neighborhood of 70 games, sources tell me and @JesseRogersESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 18, 2020
Among the details in MLBPA’s new proposal, sources tell ESPN:— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 18, 2020
- 70-game season from July 19-Sept. 30
- $50M in playoff bonuses
- 50/50 split of new postseason TV revenues in 2021
- Forgiveness of salary advance for Tier I-III players
- Universal DH
- Mutual waiver of grievance
The league’s latest offer, which landed Wednesday, was for 60 games. The players union’s last proposal was for 89 games. At the heart of all of this is money. Initially, the union insisted on prorated salaries for players (example: if it’s 70 games, players would make 43 percent of their 162-game salaries). Owners kept proposing additional pay cuts. Wednesday’s offer from the owners was the first that included prorated salaries.
Now the two sides just have to agree on a number of games, which is proving to be tougher than it might seem. The union estimates, per Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic, that each game played is worth about $25 million total to players, meaning the gap between the two proposals is around $250 million.
Owners say newest proposal is ‘DOA’
Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, one owner called Thursday’s proposal dead on arrival. While Joel Sherman of the New York Post says owners believed Manfred and Clark left their face-to-face with the framework of a deal, and did not seem to be expecting such a counter from the players. Manfred himself said Thursday he believed he and Clark had a deal:
Commissioner Rob Manfred’s take on the meeting with union chief Tony Clark and Clark’s assertion that Manfred only offered a proposal: “I don’t know what Tony and I were doing there for several hours going back and forth and making trades if we weren’t reaching an agreement.”— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 18, 2020
After reaction from owners’ side hit, the MLBPA issued a second statement, clarifying the union had significant issues with MLB’s latest proposal and it was “unequivocally false” that the two sides had a tentative agreement on Wednesday.
Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark today released the following statement: pic.twitter.com/MNAVfzx75C— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) June 18, 2020
Heyman later added that the owners are so upset, they’ll need more time to calculate their next move.
MLB owners are so upset by the players’ counterproposal — which is said for about $300M more — that no response is expected to be immediate. Time is obviously getting short so hopefully it’s not too long, of course.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 18, 2020
In addition to money, the final agreement to restart baseball could include a few other big changes. The latest proposal from the owners included expanded playoffs, the universal DH in 2020 and 2021 and corporate advertisements on uniforms in 2020 and 2021.
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