As an unofficial deadline approaches for an agreement to restart spring training, Major League Baseball is preparing its next offer to the MLB players union, with the possibility of a much shorter regular season than has so far been considered entering the picture.
The players’ most recent proposal called for a 114-game season (up from 82 games in the owners’ last offer) to begin June 30. However, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, MLB is mulling over the idea of a 50-game regular season, which owners believe MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has the power to implement if the two sides can’t come to an agreement.
An important clarification to this news: MLB will continue discussing alternatives to the shorter season with players but believes that its March agreement with players allows it to mandate a shorter season and is prepared to use that option in the absence of a deal with MLBPA.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 1, 2020
Some MLB teams believe they’ll lose more money if they play games without fans than if they didn’t play at all this season. Players dispute this claim.
A shorter regular season would limit those losses, while clearing the way for an expanded postseason — when significant broadcast revenue would kick in.
The union’s latest proposal calls for 114 regular-season games to be played from June 30 to Oct. 31, followed by an expanded postseason made up of 14 teams, instead of 10. Owners have also expressed a desire to expand the playoffs, but want them to start sooner to avoid a possible second wave of COVID-19 outbreaks.
The two sides agreed in March to pay players’ salaries on a prorated basis for the number of games played. The owners proposed additional tiered cuts in salaries because there will be no fans in attendance. However, the players have rejected any further salary reductions with roughly half the games likely to be canceled.
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