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The MLB Players Association’s executive board voted against the league’s latest proposal to start the 2020 season, which included a 60-game regular-season campaign.
The MLBPA issued a statement shortly after reports of the vote surfaced, noting the players remain committed to playing:
Buster Olney of ESPN noted that Monday’s decision will likely trigger a series of significant moves:
Buster Olney @Buster_ESPN
And the dominoes are now likely set to tumble:
1. Implementation of a short season by MLB
2. Some players choosing not to play.
3. PA grievance
4. Upcoming free agents get destroyed in market
5. All major labor issues merely deferred to next spring.
Mutually assured destruction.
USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale reported MLB commissioner Rob Manfred “has no plans to implement a season tonight, or even tomorrow.”
Rogers reported last Friday that MLB had provided what amounted to a final offer to the players union. In addition to a 60-game season with full prorated salaries, the playoffs would expand. Perhaps most importantly, the MLBPA would forfeit the right to file a grievance later on by agreeing to the deal.
Rogers followed up Sunday to report Manfred communicated to MLBPA executive director Tony Clark the league would cancel playoff expansion and the universal designated hitter in 2021 if it was unable to stage a full season this year.
As Olney wrote, Manfred now has the ability to act unilaterally when it comes to the length of the season. By doing so, he might tempt the union to lodge a formal grievance, however. The MLBPA would contend MLB and its owners failed to negotiate in good faith toward a resolution.
Rosenthal and Evan Drellich reported June 15 that Manfred “is loath to impose a season on players against their will when the Players Association likely would counter such a move by filing a claim for financial damages.”
In addition, the impasse over the length of the season could prove moot based on the continued spread of COVID-19. ESPN’s T.J. Quinn said a senior MLB official considered the coronavirus to be a “much bigger threat” for baseball’s return.
Some teams would presumably head to their spring training facilities in Florida in order to prepare for meaningful games. The state of Florida has now eclipsed 100,000 positive coronavirus cases after relaxing some of its travel restrictions and stay-at-home guidelines.
Nightengale reported Friday that MLB was temporarily shuttering all spring training facilities in Florida and Arizona to perform a “deep cleaning.”