Phillies

Phillies

What now?

The Major League Baseball Players Association on Monday voted down management's proposal of a 60-game season at 100 percent prorated pay.

The move makes it extremely doubtful that the two sides will reach a negotiated agreement on a way to start a shortened season in 2020 and puts the pressure on Commissioner Rob Manfred to use his power to implement a season at a length of his choosing, likely between 48 and 60 games.

The executive board of the Players Association rejected MLB's proposal by a vote of 33-5, according to ESPN and other reports.

MLB had targeted July 19-20 as a start date for a shortened season. That still may be the target if Manfred implements a season, but there are now more hurdles than there were a week ago. There have been flareups of coronavirus in a number of states, including Florida and Texas, and several teams, including the Phillies, have had multiple players test positive for the virus. It's possible that some players could opt out of a shortened season for health reasons. It's also possible that there could be more flareups as teams officially reconvene and that could alter plans.

It's also possible, though not likely at this point, that owners could view the health situation as too risky and instruct Manfred to cancel the season.

MLB proposed a 60-game season a week ago and Manfred stated that he believed the framework for a deal was in place. There was optimism, briefly, on both sides. The union responded with a 70-game proposal. MLB, which wants to get the regular season completed in September, before a postseason, stuck to its proposal of 60 games.

 

By not agreeing to MLB's proposal, the union kept open the important possibility of legal action against MLB. The union would find a grievance and a grievance procedure quite valuable as it could force owners to open their financial books before the two sides begin negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement. The current CBA expires after the 2021 season.

But first, will there be a 2020 season?

It's MLB's move.

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