Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Owners from all 30 Major League Baseball teams convened on a conference call Monday, according to sources, and reiterated the desire to begin the season.
If any owner has gotten to the point where he does not see the value in playing a truncated schedule, he did not express that to his colleagues. Add that to the players' consistent stance that they want to play, and there remains the expectation that the 2020 season will be salvaged.
Earlier on Monday, we outlined what a final agreement between MLB and the Players Association might look like. But there is another option, too, and one that virtually assures a season will be played.
The agreement reached on March 26 between the PA and the league allowed commissioner Rob Manfred to begin the season without an additional negotiation, provided that teams pay players full pro-rated salaries. If this were to happen, the season would likely be in the range of 50 games, a number first reported by ESPN.
Section II, Article A of the March 26 document titled "Office of the commissioner's final proposal re: 2020 season" reads in part:
"Based on that feedback received from the Players Association," the agreement reads, "the Office of the Commissioner will construct and provide to the Players Association, as promptly as possible, a proposed 2020 championship season and postseason schedule (or multiple schedule options) using best efforts to play as many games as possible, while taking into account player safety and health, rescheduling needs, competitive considerations, stadium availability, and the economic feasibility of various alternatives."
The words "construct" and "provide," rather than, say, "negotiate," make clear to MLB that it has the ability to launch the schedule and season pursuant to the March 26 agreement.
In order to begin play, the sides would have to agree on health and safety measures. According to sources, that will not be a roadblock, as an agreement on those issues is highly likely.
Of course, a new accord would be preferable for all involved. The sides are talking, and there is hope for momentum toward a deal by the end of the week.
If MLB begins its season without a new agreement, more players will likely sit out. The union could, in theory, file a grievance to prevent games from moving forward.
A more palatable option would be a compromise on the number of games -- the players want more, the league wants less -- and pay. But they can and likely will play either way.