After nearly three months of negotiations produced no agreement, Major League Baseball owners and the Players Association exercised their rights gained from their March 26 agreement, putting us closer to a potential 2020 MLB season.
The players will get their pro-rated pay, which they agreed to in March, but first formally rejected the owners’ proposal of a 60-game season on Monday.
“While we had hoped to reach a revised back to work agreement with the league, the Players remain fully committed to proceeding under our current agreement and getting back on the field for the fans, for the game, and for each other,” MLBPA said in a statement.
Andrew Heaney was one of the 38 players who voted on Monday, as the Angels’ player representative, and spoke with Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register:
#Angels player rep Andrew Heaney, reached by text, declined to say which way he voted on behalf of his teammates today.— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) June 22, 2020
"I will tell you we are all ready to get back to playing baseball again," he wrote.
MLB responded with a statement saying it would implement a schedule, which was part of that aforementioned March agreement. But gone are extended playoffs for 2020 and 2021, a universal designated hitter next year, and owners forgiving about $33 million in advanced payments to players on split contracts in April and May.
By not agreeing to a deal, both sides retain their right to file a grievance should they so choose.
All that’s left is something we’ll probably find out by Tuesday afternoon. MLB asked the players union to respond by 2 p.m. PT on two issues in order to implement the schedule:
If players would report to spring training by July 1
Agreeing to the operating manual, which includes health and safety protocols
Now it’s just a matter of figuring out when the season might start, and how long the season will be.
Based on conversations with a number of players, there is a strong expectation the MLBPA will vote yes on MLB's proposed July 1 report date, codify the health-and-safety protocol (with some slight tweaks) and lock in a 60-game season that begins around July 24, sources tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 23, 2020
Source: Owners plan to implement 60-game season once union responds to two questions posed in statement. https://t.co/6Erj1jLpfK— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 23, 2020
Bill Shaikin and Mike DiGiovanna at the Los Angeles Times also report the schedule is expected to be around 60 games with opening day around July 24.
Eno Sarris at The Athletic analyzed how much more legitimate a 60-game season is than a 48- or 50-game season.
Russell Carleton at Baseball Prospectus also tackled the legitimacy of a shortened MLB season.