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Potential MLB season taking shape? Not so fast, says MLBPA

Without a salary guarantee or postseason revenue sharing, ownership’s 154-game odyssey is dead in the water

Ballparks Remain Empty On What Would Have Been Baseball’s Opening Day Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Well, that didn’t take long.

With no time to spare, as players prep to report early in the Arizona and Florida virus incubators, word came late on Monday that, as expected, the MLBPA rejected ownership’s proposal for a 154-game, full-pay, expanded playoffs season.

As I suspected when writing the MLB offer story yesterday, what appeared to be a reasonable and even generous offer from ownership turned out false. Fingers crossed, I hoped that ownership’s give on full-season salaries in exchange for a season delay and expanded playoffs would be ironclad; in other words, even if the season was shortened to fewer than 154 games or canceled entirely, players would be paid in full.

No dice.

Per the MLBPA release above, owners offered no such assurances. So the players, unified for full pay in 2021, are willing to put their own safety at risk (starting spring training on time, as the pandemic rages in Arizona and Florida) in standing by their guns.

The season delay, and 154-game season, is not dead, however. The crux of the biscuit for the players, beyond full pay, is some revenue sharing for expanded postseason; in their eyes, playing more games in the postseason might be exciting, but amounts to playing for free. That’s an unreasonable expectation for ownership, unless teams are willing to offer greater salary guarantees if the season goes south (truncation, or cancellation).

It shouldn’t have to be both salary guarantees and postseason revenue sharing that gets a deal done. But owners will have to blink on one or the other.

With so many millions in the balance come October/November, expect a counteroffer from the owners this week.

Counteroffer this week, he wrote mere minutes ago ...

MLB has countered, and the counter is really more of a pout.

Apparently this was a one-time-only offer, as baseball now says that everything starts on time, no delay to the season. No universal DH. No expanded playoffs. A full, 162-game season*.

*deaths, infections pending