MLB announces intention to play 2020 season

Hours after the Players Association rejected MLB’s final offer Monday, MLB announced that commissioner Rob Manfred will exercise his right to implement a season.

In other words, there will be baseball in 2020, COVID-19 permitting.

The owners voted unanimously for the 2020 season to proceed under the terms of the March 26 agreement. The season is expected to be 60 games, with players receiving full prorated pay.

Spring training would begin July 1. Opening day would take place roughly three weeks later, starting the 60-game trek that won’t feature an expanded postseason.

The owners have asked the players for two important answers by 5 p.m. Tuesday. One is whether players will be able to report to camp by July 1. The other is whether the MLBPA will agree on the operating manual’s health-and-safety protocols.

When those questions are answered, Manfred is expected to officially implement the season. It’s a less-than-ideal outcome, one that further deteriorates the relationship between the league and union. It’s a messy conclusion to a saga that damaged the sport’s reputation and made a lockout in 2022, after the current collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2021, all-the-more likely.

But it does mean baseball is back. Therefore, unless the pandemic ceases play again, the Braves will have their opportunity at a third consecutive National League East crown.

Below is MLB’s full statement issued Monday evening:

“Today, the Major League Baseball Players Association informed us that they have rejected the agreement framework developed by Commissioner Manfred and Tony Clark. Needless to say, we are disappointed by this development.

“The framework provided an opportunity for MLB and its players to work together to confront the difficulties and challenges presented by the pandemic. It gave our fans the chance to see an exciting new Postseason format. And, it offered players significant benefits including:

  • The universal DH for two years
  • A guaranteed $25 million in playoff pools in 2020
  • $33 million in forgiven salary advances that would increase the take home pay of 61% of Major League players
  • Overall earnings for players of 104 percent of prorated salary
  • Over the last two days, MLB agreed to remove expanded Postseason in 2021 in order to address player concerns

“In view of this rejection, the MLB Clubs have unanimously voted to proceed with the 2020 season under the terms of the March 26th Agreement. The provisions listed above will not be operative.

“In order to produce a schedule with a specific number of games, we are asking that the Players Association provide to us by 5:00 p.m. (ET) tomorrow with two pieces of information. The first is whether players will be able to report to camp within seven days (by July 1st). The second is whether the Players Association will agree on the Operating Manual which contains the health and safety protocols necessary to give us the best opportunity to conduct and complete our regular season and Postseason.”