MLB News: Despite optimism there is no agreement for a baseball season, details here

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While New York Yankees President Randy Levine expressed his optimism that there would be a baseball season, urging the sides to negotiate, Commissioner Manfred issued what appeared to be blockbuster news.

“At my request Tony Clark and I met for several hours yesterday in Phoenix.  We left that meeting with a jointly developed framework that we agreed could form the basis of an agreement and subject to conversations with our respective contituents. I summarized that framework several times in the meeting and sent Tony a written summary today. I am encouraging the clubs to move forward and I trust Tony is doing the same”

Manfred’s statement led baseball lovers everywhere to believe a baseball deal had been accomplished, and the only thing left was a union vote approving the deal.  But as the evening progressed, a letter from players union executive director Tony Clark was released stating: citing “a number of significant issues with what [MLB Manfred] proposed” and stated, “there certainly were no tentative agreements reached.”

Here is what Manfred’s latest proposal looks like:

  • Spring training would begin no later than June 28 for position players.
  • The season would consist of 60 games over 70 days, beginning July 19 or 20 and ending Sept. 27.
  • An expanded postseason in 2020 and 2021, with a minimum players’ pool of $25 million.
  • 100 percent prorated salaries (60 games would amount to about 37 percent of a 162-game season and salary)
  • The designated hitter in both leagues in 2020 and 2021.
  • Opt-out rights for high-risk individuals, as defined by the CDC.
  • MLB would direct $10 million for social justice initiatives.
  • ‘Minimum’ player commitments for broadcast elements, including the miking of players.
  • Corporate advertising on uniforms in 2020 and 2021.
  • Enhanced housing allowances for spring training and regular season.
  • Mutual waiver of potential grievances under the March Agreement.

MLB on their part has made significant comprises to the players union so that a season can be accomplished.  100 percent of prorated salaries is one of them. Previous MBL plans have called for large reductions in play.  The plan also allows players to have corporate advertising on uniforms to increase player revenue. But among other issues, the players are holding fast to wanting more games going later into the season.

According to how you look at the MLB deal, it appears each side of the negotiation gets a little of what they wanted.  The players will be paid their full prorated salaries, and the owners get a shortened season that will reduce losses from a much longer season. It makes you wonder why the sides couldn’t have come to a similar compromise earlier, producing a much more legitimate season.

After the final tweaking of the agreement, both sides may see that 66 games make more sense schedule-wise. 12 games each vs. 4 division opponents, 3 games each vs. 4 interleague opponents, and 6 games (home and home) vs. interleague rivals. The exact details may not be known until spring training 2.0 is resumed if the sides can finally come together and make it happen.

With the sides constantly disagreeing on issues now, they don’t seem to be able to agree on whether an agreement has been reached.  However, there is more optimism today than a few days ago when Clark said that further negotiations would be futile. With yesterday’s MLB announcement, I was hoping to be writing about a start to the season this morning, but It appears the sides are closer together to make that happen to provide some hope of an MLB season.  The supposed agreement could be a jump start that has been needed.