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Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark released a statement Monday revealing the players are “disgusted” that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred threatened to cancel the 2020 season after previously saying it would “100 percent” happen.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Manfred told Mike Greenberg he is “not confident” there will be a season.
“I think there’s real risk; and as long as there’s no dialogue, that real risk is gonna continue,” the commissioner said.
Passan pointed out Manfred said last week “unequivocally we are going to play Major League Baseball this year.”
Manfred’s latest comments led to immediate outrage, which Clark’s statement underscores.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer suggested in a series of tweets that the commissioner is using the threat to cancel the season as a delay tactic to minimize public blowback for eventually implementing a dramatically shortened season.
San Diego Padres outfielder Tommy Pham tweeted “2020 no baseball” in response to a report from Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times revealing the league sent a letter to the players union saying there will only be a season if players waive any potential legal claims against MLB.
Chicago Cubs outfielder Steven Souza Jr. tweeted “Can we bring Bud Selig back?” while Houston Astros outfielder Josh Reddick simply said “Tell us when and where” there will be a season, implying the negotiating part of the process is over.
Reddick’s comment echoes part of Clark’s statement from Saturday that rejected the league’s latest proposal and said, in part: “It unfortunately appears that further dialogue with the league would be futile. It’s time to get back to work. Tell us when and where.”
Manfred still has the ability to unilaterally implement a shortened season with players receiving full prorated salaries as part of the initial March agreement between the two sides. However, owners have shifted away from full prorated salaries in their proposals since that March agreement.
The result has been the players continuously rejecting those proposals and offering counters that featured prorated salaries, which the league has in turn rejected.