MLB Owners Are Willing To Compromise To Save Season

SUN VALLEY, ID - JULY 12: Rob Manfred, commissioner of Major League Baseball (MLB), attends the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 12, 2019 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Every July, some of the world's most wealthy and powerful businesspeople from the media, finance, and technology spheres converge at the Sun Valley Resort for the exclusive weeklong conference. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
SUN VALLEY, ID - JULY 12: Rob Manfred, commissioner of Major League Baseball (MLB), attends the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 12, 2019 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Every July, some of the world's most wealthy and powerful businesspeople from the media, finance, and technology spheres converge at the Sun Valley Resort for the exclusive weeklong conference. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) /
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Per a report from NBC Sports Chicago, Tuesday lines up to be a big day as the owners and the MLBPA continue to figure out if and when the 2020 season will start.

The start of the 2020 MLB season may be determined this week as the owners and the MLBPA are set to hammer out the details of how the shorten season may work out. According to a source that knows the talks, they told NBC Chicago the league will propose a plan to the MLBPA that will be a compromise from the 50-50 revenue idea that was discussed earlier in this month.

We have discussed the numerous back and forths between the league office and the MLBPA about how the revenue split would work (which has alienated a lot of fans, if we are being honest here) and safety concerns about the COVID-19 protocols that will be set in place. If you are keeping track at home, here is where we got to this point in the talks between MLB and the MLBPA and provide some insight into why talks about revenue split have become cantankerous.

-March 2020: The owners set aside $170 million in salary for April and May

-April 9th: Forbes announced MLB values with the Detroit Tigers’ value coming in at $1.25 billion dollars.

-April 10th: The “Florida” plan was announced that would have teams play close to their spring training facility.  Also, day or so later, the  “Arizona” plan was announced, which would have all of the teams playing in fields across the metropolitan areas of Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona.

-April 20th: Rob Manfred allowing teams to furlough pay.

-April 28th: Jeff Passan of ESPN.com provides a thorough explanation of where the owners and the players stand on the issue.

-May 11th: Spring training would start in June and the 82-game game schedule would more than likely kick-off in July.

MLB and the MLBPA look to defer costs

In the latest update, the union is expected to present a plan that would allow players to receive their prorated salaries based on the number of games played but the caveat to the plan that was added is that a certain amount of money would be deferred to future years to help reduce the cost for owners’ expenses for the 2020 season. It would make sense as the season may start without fans in the stands and that accounts according to MLB, 39% of the total revenue.

The overall vibe is that the players and the owners want to see a season happen. They have all the financial reasons to do so. Jeff Passan in his recent column summed it up like this and I could not agree with him more.

“Trust, on the other hand, is hard to come by, and if this thing falls apart — if the absence of a good-faith negotiation dooms the 2020 baseball season — it won’t be directly because of the coronavirus pandemic. It will be because the erosion of trust in recent years among the leaders on both sides poisoned and polluted the landscape to an extent that a deal never was going to happen in the first place. As cynical as that sounds, it’s close enough to the truth to make everyone involved uncomfortable and motivate them to spend the rest of May ensuring the roosting chickens don’t cluck their way to a summer and fall of emptiness.”

As MLB is figuring out to return to help fans return to a sense of normal, Bundesliga, the top league for German soccer has used cardboard cutouts in the stands as they returned to action. Fans paid $20 dollars, took a picture, and sent them in. Spain’s La Liga soccer league is set to resume on June 8 and the South Korea soccer league team, FC Korea, recently was in hot water over using sex dolls as fans during their games.

The safety procedures to keep players safe if a season starts looks like it has improved and that is a sigh of relief for the players.  MLB Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem told ESPN that MLB was prepared to process as many 14,500 coronavirus tests per week.  It is amazing the efficiency of testing when someone puts their mind to it. Stay tuned folks, it looks like this week will be a big one in deciding the fate of the 2020 MLB season.