Chuck Garfien

MLB, players deeply divided with clock ticking: 'It's ugly right now'

MLB, players deeply divided with clock ticking: 'It's ugly right now'

Where do things stand right now between Major League Baseball and the players union?

Let’s just say the owners are in New York and the players are in Los Angeles. Hopefully, they can meet somewhere in the middle — like Chicago — and we can have baseball in 2020.

But it's going to take a lot of work.

MLB's much-anticipated, first economic proposal presented to the players on Tuesday features a sliding scale of pay cuts where the players making the most money lose a greater percentage of their salaries, while those making less will have smaller cuts.  

The players' didn't like it one bit.

"The owners have a long way to go," one player said.

Fortunately, this isn’t the ninth inning of negotiations. There’s still time to make a deal.  

But with the clock ticking, there’s a big divide and harsh feelings that need to be addressed.

According to one agent, “I like to think I’m an optimist, but it’s ugly right now. While it’s a complicated situation, it comes down to money. The little hope I have is cooler and sensible heads [will] prevail.”

Will the two sides come to an agreement? If so, how and when?

That’s what I discussed with my NBC Sports Chicago colleagues Adam Hoge and Vinnie Duber on this Give Me Baseball edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.

Why White Sox starter Dylan Cease thinks he was 'very exposed' to coronavirus

Why White Sox starter Dylan Cease thinks he was 'very exposed' to coronavirus

For most of April, while baseball was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease was back home in Georgia, preparing for a possible baseball season but also bracing for what he felt was coming next.

The coronavirus very likely invaded the house where Cease was living. He was concerned it was only a matter of time before he became stricken with the disease as well.

“Everyday I was waiting for it,” Cease said on the White Sox Talk Podcast.

After spring training was canceled, Cease flew from Arizona to Georgia to stay at his brother’s place. About a week after he arrived, his brother’s girlfriend, who was living with them, became ill.

“She had a fever for like 17 straight days. For three weeks she was basically asleep all day," Cease said. "It probably took her a week-and-a-half, two weeks after that to start feeling more normal, but she’s good now. I wasn’t able to leave my place for three weeks to a month.”

How exposed was he?

“Very exposed,” Cease said.

The puzzling part is that when she went to get tested for COVID-19, the result came back negative.

“There was something funky with it,” Cease said. “She doesn’t think they did the right thing. They didn’t swab her nose. We’re pretty sure it wasn’t done correctly, because why else would she have a fever for three straight weeks? Her cousin is a doctor, and he said, ‘You got this, so don’t leave the house.’”

For days, Cease was concerned that at any moment he could develop symptoms and become sick with the virus.

“I was reading that usually within the first seven days you’ll know, so everyday I was telling myself, ‘OK, it’s less likely I’m going to get it, less likely, less likely,'" he said. "And once she was in the clear and then it was a week later and I still wasn’t sick, I was like 'All right, I’m either immune to it or she didn't have it,' but we’re pretty sure she had it.”

How did his brother’s girlfriend get sick? She’s a student, so maybe she was exposed to the virus at school.   

But Cease wonders if he caught COVID-19 on the way back to Georgia, was asymptomatic, and gave it to her after he arrived.

“It could have been from me. We don’t really know," he said. "I was traveling. I was just coming from Arizona. I was on a plane, at the airport. It could have been from me, but I didn’t have any symptoms or anything."

MORE: White Sox to pay employees in full through June as other teams institute cuts

Cease has not been tested for the virus or whether he has the antibodies. If there’s a baseball season, that will certainly change. MLB and the players union are discussing strict health and safety measures in the event baseball returns, with frequent testing among the players.

NBC Sports Chicago reported on Saturday the league and players are showing a willingness to negotiate in the hopes of getting a deal done for a baseball season in 2020.  

Cease is ready to return. He's also aware of what that could mean from an exposure standpoint.

“As a player, I think you have to embrace that you’re risking the chance of getting (the coronavirus). (You have to) minimize your exposure to the outside world as much as you can during the season," he said. "You can’t expect it to be 100 percent safe.

"We definitely want to play. Obviously, there’s business negotiations that have to go down. We really do want to be on the field when it’s all said and done. Hopefully they can figure it out, we can figure it out.”

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.

MLB, players prepared to move in negotiations with 2020 season on the line

MLB, players prepared to move in negotiations with 2020 season on the line

Will there be baseball in 2020?

Behind the scenes, both Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association are prepared to amend, if slightly, their previously reported stances in their ongoing financial dispute in an effort to come together and open the door to a shortened 2020 season.

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the league will make a proposal to the players' union Tuesday that will be a compromise from the 50-50 revenue sharing split that had been floated earlier this month. This could serve as a starting point in negotiations from MLB’s side.

Meanwhile, the union is expected to propose a plan that allows players to receive their prorated salaries based on the number of games played, which was part of an agreement between the two sides finalized March 26. But a certain amount of money would be deferred to future years to help reduce the owners' expenses for the 2020 season.

These, according to a source, would likely be the general starting points in negotiations, a clear signal that both sides are willing to move closer to one another in the hope they can come to an agreement that allows for a return to play.

RELATED: White Sox to pay employees in full through June as other teams institute cuts

Progress was made last week on the health-and-safety issues that need to be resolved, with players and the many others needed to stage a season being asked to return to work in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

All of the messages being passed through back channels is that both the league and the players want to play.

“I think everybody has something to win in here by having a baseball season,” White Sox pitcher Evan Marshall said last week on the White Sox Talk Podcast. “You’ve got your fans and the interest and love of the game, and also we’d be the only thing going on, which is great for our game. The owners have their TV deals and advertisements. We have stats to put up and games to win.

“There are a lot of things that would be good that would come from us having a season, and not playing, I think, is just a loss for everybody.”

Next week is shaping up to be a pivotal one in determining whether baseball will be played in 2020. Fortunately, there are signs that progress could be on the horizon.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.