While the NBA gears up for a reported return in late July, Major League Baseball is still stuck in neutral.
MLB has rejected the MLB Players Association's proposal for a 114-game season in 2020 and doesn't plan to make a counter-offer, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich reported Wednesday.
The sticking point appears to be around player pay: The players agreed to prorated 2020 salaries in March but called for no additional salary cuts in their latest proposal, per The Athletic. MLB's proposal to the union last month, meanwhile, called for a "50-50 revenue split" between owners and players in an 82-game season.
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According to The Athletic, MLB is considering a season with as few as 50 games in front of no fans as a potential option but has not proposed that scenario to the union.
Yet multiple players recently told ESPN's Jeff Passan they're opposed to a shorter season, with one telling Passan, "We want to play more games, and they want to play less. We want more baseball."
The New York Post's Joel Sherman summed up the current state of negotiations Wednesday in a rather depressing tweet.
I have heard greater pessismism today from folks on both sides about MLB launching a season than at any point. People who previously thought the sides would find a way, now expressing at least greater doubt (often more than that).— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) June 3, 2020
All hope isn't completely lost for the 2020 MLB season to happen amid the coronavirus pandemic, however. SNY's Andy Martino suggested MLB declining to counter the players' proposal could just be a negotiating tactic as the sides attempt to find common ground.
MLB's decision not to counter, which @Ken_Rosenthal reported, is not so much a breakdown in talks as a tactic. They want to keep the terms of the March 26 agreement in order to preserve their right to create and begin play on the schedule.— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) June 3, 2020
Still, it doesn't appear the league and the players are close to finding that common ground. And considering the Boston Red Sox had already played 59 regular-season games by this point last year, time is running out.
UPDATE (4:23 p.m. ET): MLB Network's Jon Heyman is a bit more optimistic about the league and the players working things out:
There’s more pessimism today w/rejection of union offer, but smart folks still believe things will be worked out. While it hasn’t been offered, belief here is players might do 82 games at full pay. And owners would come up from 40% paycut offered. Would 20% cut and 90 games work?— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 3, 2020