MINNEAPOLIS - If Major League Baseball has any chance to have a condensed season starting in early July, the players’ association and owners will have to find a middle ground sometime this week.
MLB suspended Spring Training and postponed the start of the regular season for all teams back in mid-March due to the Coronavirus pandemic. League owners and players have negotiated for at least a few weeks, with no immediate resolution in site.
In the most recent proposal sent from players to league owners, they pitch for a 114-game season with deferred salaries if there isn’t a postseason, and the option for players to opt-out of the 2020 season altogether due to Coronavirus concerns.
The 114-game season would start June 30 and conclude Oct. 31, which would require doubleheaders. MLB had previously proposed an 82-game season where teams would face their divisional opponent, and National League opponents from the same division.
In a new development on Monday, MLB owners support a season that would be in the neighborhood of 50 games.
The players’ union continues to push for full prorated salaries, while MLB owners had previously sought pay cuts that affect players at every salary level due to team financial concerns because of Covid-19. The MLB also had a 67-page summary of health and safety protocols, which included the ability for high risk players, those with pre-existing conditions or with family who are more susceptible to getting Covid-19, to opt-out of playing but still receive salary. Players not considered high risk could also opt out, but wouldn’t receive a salary.
In the latest proposal submitted by the players’ union, they push for two years of expanded playoffs. MLB had previously offered to expand this year’s playoffs from 10 to 14 teams. They also have proposed a $100 million salary advance to be split among players during the second Spring Training before play would resume.
Players are offering to wear microphones on the field to add to broadcasts, and they’re offering to hold an offseason All-Star Game or Home Run Derby to help the league generate additional revenue.
Locally, the Minnesota Twins are stepping up and making sure their players at all levels are compensated. The Twins are paying all players currently in their farm system $400 per week through the end of August, which is typically when the minor league season ends.
The Twins also announced back in April that they’re paying Target Field employees for home games lost due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
We don’t know when baseball will be back, but the players’ union and owners are at least at the negotiating table.