More than two months after MLB's 2020 season was scheduled to start, the league and the players association made progress towards a deal to play a shortened season, according to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, though an official agreement has not yet been made.
“At my request, [MLB players association chief] Tony Clark and I met for several hours yesterday in Phoenix," Manfred said in a statement Wednesday. "We left that meeting with a jointly developed framework that we agreed could form the basis of an agreement and subject to conversations with our respective constituents. I summarized that framework numerous times in the meeting and sent Tony a written summary today. Consistent with our conversations yesterday, I am encouraging the Clubs to move forward and I trust Tony is doing the same.”
A report from MLB Network's Jon Heyman on Wednesday says MLB has proposed a new deal and an agreement is "expected to" include prorated pay for the players, and include an expanded postseason:
Breaking: MLB and players union are closing in on an agreement to play the 2020 season, via players. Deal expected to be for prorated pay and include expanded playoffs.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 17, 2020
According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the deal is for a 60-game season beginning on July 19, with full prorated pay:
Sources: The owners' latest offer to the PA is for 60 games, full pro-rata, starting July 19.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) June 17, 2020
The players association itself clarified that an agreement has not yet been reached:
Reports of an agreement are false.— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) June 17, 2020
Heyman also reports that the players association has agreed to waive any grievances as part of the deal:
As part of the pending agreement to play the 2020 season between MLB and the players union, the union has agreed to waive any grievance.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 17, 2020
The main sticking point between the league and the players during the stalemate was money. The players already agreed to receive prorated salaries back in March, and didn't want to take an additional pay cut, while the league proposed different plans that would've paid players 50% or 75% of the prorated salaries, with varying game totals.
Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper was among many players who publicly discussed whether players would be amenable to a second pay cut.
An expanded postseason has also been considered a necessary part of any deal that would see baseball played this season. The specifics of the expanded postseason remain unclear, though a 14-to-16-team postseason has been frequently discussed during the stalemate.
After weeks and months of general nothingness, it feels like we're finally seeing the league and the players association move in the right direction.
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