Shorter 2020 MLB season looking more likely as anger deepens following latest offer

Andy Martino

Andy Martino, | Twitter |

It didn't take long for the disconnect between owners and players to worsen after Major League Baseball made its latest financial proposal.

Minutes after ESPN's Karl Ravech broke the news that the league had made another offer (SNY had been first to report Friday that the league was considering this step), reaction from the players' side was clear: This proposal was a non-starter, and they would rather play a 48-game season at full prorated salaries than accept the league's offer.

MLB's proposal, per Ravech and confirmed by sources, was for a 76-game season, 75 percent of a full prorated salary, no draft pick compensation this winter, a regular season ending on Sept. 27, and an expanded postseason.

One source briefed on the plan added that the 75 percent pro-rata would only be in effect if the coronavirus did not force a cancellation of the postseason.

The players considered this a cosmetic proposal, one more designed for a public relations win than to facilitate a good faith negotiation. The owners strongly disagree with that view, and feel that the players need to come off their position of full prorated salaries.

It remains to be seen if any productive talks come from this latest proposal, but that doesn't seem likely at first blush. The pro-rata issue continues to be the source of a serious disconnect.

The only concept that both sides seem to agree on is that an approximately 50 game season will be the alternative to a new agreement. As reported Friday, the owners are willing to schedule it, and the players will report to play it.

The scenario is far from ideal, because it would bring a grievance from the union and continued rancor -- not to mention fewer baseball games for the public to enjoy.

If the owners do agree to pay full prorated salaries for, say, 70 games, the players are willing to offer two years of expanded playoffs, mic'd up players on MLB Network and salary deferrals if the coronavirus prevents postseason play.

If the season proceeds without a new agreement, the picture is much darker. The grievance process could force MLB to open its books, which would be a battle. Players would likely shun MLB network and other marketing opportunities. And the public will marinate in its disgust in the game's power brokers.

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