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MLB players propose 70-game season in counteroffer to league

MLB players propose 70-game season in counteroffer to league

The MLB Players Association delivered a counteroffer to league owners that includes a 70-game season, full prorated pay and expanded playoffs in 2020 and 2021.

“We delivered to Major League Baseball today a counterproposal based on a 70-game regular season which, among a number of issues, includes expanded playoffs for both 2020 and 2021,” MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said in a statement Thursday. “We believe this offer represents the basis for an agreement on a resumption of play.”

Under the players’ proposal, the 70-game season would run from July 19 through Sept. 30. According to ESPN and The Athletic, the counteroffer includes $50 million in playoff bonuses, universal designated hitters in 2020 and 2021, permission for clubs to sell advertisements/patches on uniforms, and the waiving of any potential grievance.

League sources told USA Today Sports and MLB Media that owners are expected to reject the union’s latest proposal. MLB will likely submit another counteroffer to bridge the $300 million gap between the sides’ recent offers.

“This needs to be over,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday. “Until I speak with the owners, I can’t give you a firm deadline.”

After a meeting between Manfred and Clark on Tuesday in Phoenix, the baseball commissioner emerged from the negotiation believing that the framework of a deal had been reached. On Thursday, the players’ union released a statement disagreeing with Manfred’s assessment of the discussion.

“In my discussions with Rob in Arizona, we explored a potential pro rata framework, but I made clear repeatedly in that meeting and after it that there were a number of significant issues with what he proposed, in particular the number of games,” Clark said.

“It is unequivocally false to suggest that any tentative agreement or other agreement was reached in that meeting. In fact, in conversations within the last 24 hours, Rob invited a counterproposal for more games that he would take back to the owners. We submitted that counterproposal today.”

Manfred said Clark called him Wednesday night and said he wasn’t going to present the framework to the MLBPA’s eight-man executive subcommittee.

“I told him 70 games was simply impossible given the calendar and the public health situation, and he went ahead and made that proposal anyway,” Manfred said.

If the parties can’t reach an agreement, the league has the power to implement a season of its desired length — likely about 50 games — per a March 26 agreement between MLB and the players’ union. The MLBPA is expected to file a grievance against the owners if MLB moves forward with that plan.

In MLB’s latest proposal, which was sent to players Wednesday, the season would be 60 games and players would be paid their full prorated salaries — a total of about $1.5 billion.

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