While baseball and much of the world remains paralyzed due to the coronavirus pandemic, there is plenty of activity going on behind the scenes with Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association working through a number of key issues that a shortened season would present. Overnight, ESPN’s Jeff Passan and Kiley McDaniel reported that both sides are working toward a potential agreement that would guarantee players a prorated salary that would depend on the number of games played. Several sources from the players’ side told Passan and McDaniel that they would be willing to play a significant number of doubleheaders in order to get as close to a full schedule as possible.
Both sides are also reportedly discussing scenarios that would include extending the regular season into October and the possibility of playing playoff games at neutral sites. Additionally, players would likely receive full service time if a championship season is played.
It is the service time issue that is the biggest sticking point between both sides. For a player such as Mookie Betts, losing a year of service would delay him entering free agency by a year. For a team like the Dodgers, who acquired Betts this offseason, they wouldn’t want to see Betts exit as a free agent before he has played a game. There aren’t any easy answers but both sides have the incentive to get a deal done and soon.
Per Passan, other issues both sides are discussing includes advancing a portion of the players’ salaries, receiving assurances from teams that non-player employees will receive paychecks through at least April and delivering payments to minor league players.
The fact that they are talking and seemingly making progress should be recognized as a good thing. Especially given the recent strife and mistrust by both sides due to their recent CBA discussions. It is also good that they are including in the discussions talks surrounding non-player team employees and minor league players who both of which have a ton to lose in this situation. While we can’t be sure when the curtain will be lifted to allow a restart for the 2020 season, both sides need to be ready when it happens.