We’re past Memorial Day. 1/3 of the season has slipped by. And while summer stretches out ahead of us–we’re still almost four weeks until the technical start of the season, even–time is getting short. If the 2020 season is going to happen, especially if it is going to resume by the next major holiday (July 4), the time for decisions is now.
It sounds like the owners understand that the time is drawing nigh. According to, who else, Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drelich, MLB is not going to officially propose the 50/50 revenue split like they had leaked out into the public. Given the violent reaction from the players’ union (as well as the support the union gained from a good portion of the fan base), it seems like they realize there’s no reason to waste the limited bit of time they may have arguing over something that is never going to happen.
Instead, it sounds like salary deferral is on the table and that might be easier for the union to swallow. There’s no doubt that the owners are having cash flow issues, so getting your money in a few installments instead of all at one time might be a gesture the players can make toward those difficulties without being out anything overall. Especially when the other option sounds like some sort of salary cut, which isn’t going to be popular with anyone but definitely not those making under $1 million.
It sounds like the players have already been talking about deferrals so that might not be a big shock to their system and, more importantly for the timeline, not take as long to come to some sort of an agreement. I imagine they’ll haggle over how much gets deferred, maybe if the young guys get all theirs now versus free agents with big contracts, etc.
Interestingly, the article notes that the players could push for a regular season that is longer than 82 games, because they get paid for each game they play. The league would like to get to the playoffs faster and not run the risk of a second wave of the virus wiping out the most lucrative portion of the season. I don’t figure that will be a huge sticking point–players might trade those extra games for less deferrals–but it is something to keep in mind.
The informal deadline is Monday. Now, if they are close and can figure something out a couple of days after that, I don’t think it’s much of a problem. After that, though, you are really pushing it. You need probably at least a week for players to get to wherever they need to go, plus they have to be quarantined for a couple of days at least while waiting on their test results. (As Tara pointed out on Gateway Sunday night, all this testing that is in their proposal, it doesn’t seem like that is ready yet.) Then you have at least two weeks of camp before getting started with the season. If you want that early July start, you have to have everything in place by the end of the first week of June, I think. Otherwise, you start pushing things back.
Baseball’s already going to have to compete with the NBA and NHL returning with their playoffs, it appears, and that’s assuming no second wave from the reopening and from activities of this past weekend, something that we probably will start seeing before an agreement gets put into place anyway. Even if an agreement is reached, there are still plenty of mines to tiptoe around. It’d be something, though, and something that would get fans pretty excited to see a date for returning that they could count down to.
This week’s vital, though. Let’s hope it is a good one.