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.
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.