The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that MLB and the player’s union were already having contentious talks regarding the coronavirus delay to the regular season.
Additionally, with the college baseball season being canceled (as well as most or all prep athletics) baseball may in fact skip the draft this year and cancel the international singing period to save money. (Presently, drafted players combine to earn around $400 million in bonuses each draft year.)
Service time is at the core of discussions between the union and major league baseball, with the players supporting a year of service time earned even if the season is cancelled. Meanwhile, owners sound willing to work off of a calendar that would grant a full service year for as few as 130 games played, with credit earned using 130 games as the standard for 2020 rather than 162.
Per the AP, actual details of how baseball might squeeze in a maximum number of games in a shortened calendar — including extending the season with games at warm-weather or domed neutral sites, or routine doubleheaders — aren’t even up for discussion, given how far out we are from any return to societal normalcy.
Also on the table is the notion of monetary advances or allowanced for players during the layoff. Teams currently are not required to pay players, given the national emergency declared in the U.S.
The two sides also are discussing a relaxation of both schedule guidelines (see: doubleheaders) and roster limits given the unusual nature of a truncated/resumed 2020 season.
There is no current discussion of minor leaguers being advanced money, as those players are not governed by the MLB-MLBPA labor agreement.