MLB: Did Rob Manfred threaten the season as part of a negotiation tactic?

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Earlier this week, things were headed deep south for the MLB. Commissioner Rob Manfred came out saying that a 2020 season was “not likely”, and it was assumed that the season would eventually be canceled.

But here we are just a few days later, with negotiations in another life. We could finally see a deal within a few days. Could Rob Manfred have threatened the 2020 season as part of a negotiation tactic?  I think that he probably did in attempt to get the players to cave and accept less money. There is no way that we magically go from “likely no season” to “a deal nearing completion” in a few days.

The MLB offered the players association 60 games with prorated salaries, an expanded postseason, and a universal DH. As happy as players were to see prorated salaries, they decided that they want more games. They sent back basically the same proposal, but with 10 more games. From what we hear, owners aren’t too excited about that. They want to end the regular season by September to beat a second coronavirus wave and keep postseason TV dates in place.

So, maybe we see a compromise with a season of 65 games. It will still be an extraordinarily short season, but more meaningful than a 50 game season. The sport needs the season to happen, or else they will lose even more fans.

But, going back to what Manfred said on Monday; I think that he said what he said in a last ditch effort to avoid prorated salaries. Once they saw the level of disgust between the players after the statement, they finally had to cave and offer prorated salaries. I certainly don’t know for sure, and we may never know. That’s just my guess from what we already know.

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