MLB and the MLBPA don’t seem to be on the same page yet. The two sides still can’t agree on how many games should be played in 2020.
Reports came out that MLB and the MLBPA had an agreement in principle on Wednesday. In truth, only one side thought they had come to an agreement. The owners believed they had finally reached a deal with the MLBPA, but the MLBPA thought this was just another offer.
In response, the MLBPA has come back with an offer of their own. The terms of the deal are nearly identical to the one that came out on Wednesday, with one big change. According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, the MLBPA is proposing a 70-game season instead of the 60-game season proposed in Wednesday’s deal.
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
This 10-game change is much bigger than it seems. By adding 10 games to the season owners are paying players an extra $247 million in salary. It’s hard to imagine them agreeing to such a deal.
Considering they thought they had an agreement already, it’s hard to see them moving off their 60-game number without significant changes to the deal. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the original deal added a number of financial benefits for players. Owners will likely either want those changed or taken out entirely if they’re going to add more games to the schedule.
In 60-game framework at full prorated pay, MLB also proposed universal DH, $33M in loan forgiveness and $25M postseason pool. League might ask to adjust financial numbers if it agrees to greater number of games. Parties working on entire math equation, not just one element.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 18, 2020
While there is reason to be optimistic it doesn’t seem like a deal is coming anytime soon. The two sides are still posturing, but they’re closer than ever before. It’s likely that they’ll find a way to come to a middle ground, perhaps a 65- or 66-game season.
That said, the MLB and MLBPA are stubborn and hate to lose any negotiations. It’s impossible to rule out one or both sides picking up and leaving negotiations again, this time maybe for good.