Several MLB players and coaches have tested positive for COVID-19, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale. The league informed the players union on Monday.
Nightengale obtained a copy of a letter from MLB deputy commissioner Dan Halem to MLBPA lead attorney Bruce Meyer. In the letter, Halem notes the positive tests and fears over a second coronavirus wave this fall are reasons why the league doesn't want to run a schedule beyond October.
In the letter, Halem also denies the union's assertion that MLB is stalling to play fewer games in an effort to save money. From Nightengale's report:
Your recent letters have all expressed the concern, in one form or another, that players are being 'asked to take on extraordinary burdens and risks in the current environment. However, the Association’s proposals to play as many games as possible, as deep into the fall as possible, increases the health risks to players and staff, which is not something we are prepared to do.
We strongly disagree with your assertion that our concern about player health and safety in the midst of the greatest health crisis in our lifetime is a 'pretext' to play fewer games. As you are aware, while the language in [the March 26 agreement] states that the Office of the Commissioner will use 'best efforts to play as many games as possible,' a very important qualifier to that provision is that the schedule must take into account 'player safety and health.'
In recent weeks, the union proposed playing a regular season through October with a November postseason (at neutral sites, if needed). MLB rejected that proposal and the union has since put an end to negotiations altogether.
The expectation was commissioner Rob Manfred would use his power (per a March agreement between the league and union) to mandate a regular season of 50ish games. However, he told ESPN on Monday he's "not confident" there will be a 2020 season at all. Some have speculated the timing of his comments is to avoid the union filing a grievance against MLB for not negotiating in good faith to play as many games as possible.
Reds starter Trevor Bauer posted a lengthy Twitter thread Monday on the subject. Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle questioned the timing of the positive tests being revealed.
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Wait...they leaked information about player health to the AP? First, I hope everyone is feeling ok and recovering well. But the timing of this leak is suspicious and it feels really gross. https://t.co/Vq3FlMT8rJ— Obi-Sean Kenobi Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) June 16, 2020