The latest report made on headlines last Sunday that a large of positive COVID-19 tests are the reason for the delay. The Major League Baseball players are having a hard time on whether to accept the owners’ latest proposal to play the 2020 season continues to be postponed.
A trusted source of scoop inside the league, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that 40 MLB players and staff members tested positive for COVID-19 in the last week. Nightengale added that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark exchanged emails with “tweaks” to their proposals.
The rise of cases of COVID-19 infections will be the reason for the start of the season back to July 26 at the earliest. Also the spring training will be back on track no earlier than June 29. The owners and players had previously agreed to restart the season on July 19. MLB is still offering a 60-game season, per Nightengale, but pushing the season back further could make that more complicated.
“I really believe we are fighting over an impossibility on games,” Manfred said to Clark in his e-mail, according to Nightengale. “The earliest we will be ready for players to report is a week from Monday (June 29) given the need to relocate teams from Florida. That leaves 66 days to play 60 games. Realistically, that is the outside of the envelope now.”
Last Sunday, Nightengale reported that “there may be a modified proposal submitted Monday.”
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman added: “MLB players are delaying the vote a bit today as MLB is suggesting it’s willing to make a couple changes in light of recent COVID cases. Sides are in contact and situation is fluid. Players are concerned that if this year is canceled owners end up reaping the benefits in ’21.”
Last Sunday, ESPN’s Jeff Passan have expressed confirmation and reported Manfred composed a letter to Clark that relentlessly offers to cancel expanded playoffs the universal designated hitter for 2021 (the owners’ latest proposal had those elements in place for 2020 and ’21). But, Passan stated, “Players are concerned about giving up leverage of playoffs for naught.” The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal added a union meeting was cut short after Clark received a letter from Manfred.
Moreover, the other plans for the season Manfred reportedly made to Clark should the season be cut once again are there would be no postseason expansion or universal designated hitter in 2021. Nightengale reported Manfred also made a deal that the players on non-guaranteed contracts who were arbitration-eligible in 2019 but released during spring training would receive full termination pay. He clearly demands for official statement.
On Saturday, countless reports surfaced indicated the MLB Players Association would prompt delay voting on MLB’s latest proposal while it collects further data on health and safety protocols as COVID-19 cases spike in a number of cities.
Before MLB’s action, the Philadelphia Phillies closed their Clearwater, Fla., campus after five players and three staff members tested positive for the coronavirus. The Toronto Blue Jays shut their training site in nearby Dunedin, Fla., after a player exhibited symptoms of COVID-19.
Hence, the season was scheduled to start March 26, but the coronavirus pandemic led them to decide and adjust for delay for preventive measures and health safety among players and staff.
MLB is expecting an answer from the MLBPA per a 60-game proposal with expanded playoffs. If the MLBPA turns down the offer, commissioner Rob Manfred has the power to implement a schedule, which would likely consist of somewhere between 50 and 60 games.