Report: Players reject latest MLB proposal

The Players Association’s 38-member executive committee voted Monday against MLB’s latest proposal to start a season, according to multiple reports. The vote was 33-5.

After tense negotiations that didn’t lead to an agreement, all eyes again shift to commissioner Rob Manfred, who has the power to implement a season of his desired length (reportedly 48 to 60 games), according to the infamous March agreement from 87 days ago. Such had been the long-expected outcome, but was always considered the last resort.

The statement from the Players Association:

“The MLBPA Executive Board met multiple times in recent days to assess the status of our efforts to resume the 2020 season.

“Earlier this evening, the full Board reaffirmed the players’ eagerness to return to work as soon and as safely as possible. To that end we anticipate finalized a comprehensive set of health and safety protocols with Major League Baseball in the coming days, and we await word from the league on the resumption of spring training camps and a proposed 2020 schedule.

“While we had hoped to reach a revised back to work agreement with the league, the Players remain fully committed to proceeding under our current agreement and getting back on the field for the fans, for the game, and for each other.”

The rejected offer reportedly included 60 games at full prorated pay, which was among the players’ non-negotiable details. Salaries were not guaranteed in the event games were ultimately not played. The offer also was said to include a $25 million playoff pool for this season. But it would’ve required the union waiving its right to file a grievance.

While the league could still make another offer to the players, it seems almost certain that if there’s baseball this season, it will happen without an agreement between the league and union.

A commissioner-implemented campaign could lead to some players sitting out. It also further poisons relations between both parties before the collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2021, when a lockout is seen as increasingly likely. It means no expanded postseason, a major revenue source that also could’ve made up for some of the on-field variance of a shortened season.

The implementation would come with that all-important grievance from the union, claiming the owners failed to act in good faith. The league likely would file a counter grievance saying similarly of the union.

The sides’ common enemy remains, however. Positive COVID-19 tests shut down spring training sites in Florida and Arizona over the weekend. As spikes continue in areas of the country, MLB and the players are faced with uncertainty stemming far beyond negotiations.

Owners could still vote to cancel the season, as Passan noted in his latest report. That would require eight votes. The possibility isn't seen as likely as of Monday.

If teams do report for spring training, it will be to their home sites (the Braves were planning to train in Atlanta regardless of the weekend’s developments). An implemented season likely would begin in late July.