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  • #16
    MLBPA rejects latest proposal, tells MLB to schedule 2020 season: 'Tell us when and where'

    Here are six things to know with Tony Clark and the Players Association are seemingly done negotiating

    Saturday night, MLB Players Association rejected Major League Baseball's latest proposal to begin the 2020 season. The league proposed a 72-game season at 80 percent prorated pay on Friday -- the proposal included a scathing letter -- and gave the union until Sunday to respond. The MLBPA responded a day early and officially rejected the offer Saturday in an expected move.

    Furthermore, MLBPA executive director Tony Clark issued a statement saying "it appears further dialogue with the league would be futile," and invited commissioner Rob Manfred to schedule however many games he sees fit.

    Here is Clark's statement:

    "Players want to play. It's who we are and what we do. Since March, the Association has made it clear that our No.1 focus is playing the fullest season possible, as soon as possible, as safely as possible. Players agreed to billions in monetary concessions as a means to that end, and in the face of repeated media leaks and misdirection we made additional proposals to inject new revenues into the industry -- proposals that would benefit the owners, players, broadcast partners, and fans alike.

    "It's now become apparent that these efforts have fallen upon deaf ears. In recent days, owners have decried the supposed unprofitability of owning a baseball team and the Commissioner has repeatedly threatened to schedule a dramatically shortened season unless players agree to hundreds of millions in further concessions. Our response has been consistent that such concessions are unwarranted, would be fundamentally unfair to players, and that our sport deserves the fullest 2020 season possible. These remain our positions today, particularly in light of new reports regarding MLB's national television rights -- information we requested from the league weeks ago but were never provided.

    "As a result, it unfortunately appears that further dialogue with the league would be futile. It's time to get back to work. Tell us when and where."

    A March agreement between MLB and the MLBPA gives Manfred the ability to unilaterally schedule a season of any length as long as the players receive full prorated salaries. MLB believes the March agreement allows the league to seek another round of pay reductions to account for games being played without fans, which the union has rejected. They consider the salary matter closed.

    "If it is your intention to unilaterally impose a season, we again request that you inform us and our members of how many games you intend to play and when and where players should report," MLBPA negotiator Bruce Meyer wrote in a letter to MLB. "It is unfair to leave players and the fans hanging at this point. We demand that you inform us of your plans by close of business on Monday, June 15."

    MLB issued the following statement Saturday night:

    "We are disappointed that the MLBPA has chosen not to negotiate in good faith over resumption of play after MLB has made three successive proposals that would provide players, Clubs and our fans with an amicable resolution to a very difficult situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The MLBPA understands that the agreement reached on March 26th was premised on the parties' mutual understanding that the players would be paid their full salaries only if play resumed in front of fans, and that another negotiation was to take place if Clubs could not generate the billions of dollars of ticket revenue required to pay players. The MLBPA's position that players are entitled to virtually all the revenue from a 2020 season played without fans is not fair to the thousands of other baseball employees that Clubs and our office are supporting financially during this very difficult 2020 season. We will evaluate the Union's refusal to adhere to the terms of the March Agreement, and after consulting with ownership, determine the best course to bring baseball back to our fans."

    The June 15 deadline is superficial -- neither side has the ability to impose a hard deadline, though each day that passes is another day games can not be played -- and more negotiations can not be ruled out. At this point it would be a surprise if the two sides came to an agreement, however. Manfred unilaterally scheduling a season is the most likely outcome.

    MLB and the MLBPA have traded multiple proposals over the last few weeks but the players are the only side making concessions. They've proposed fewer games at full prorated pay each step of the way. MLB, meanwhile, keeps making the same basic proposal in a different form. They've proposed paying players roughly one-third of their full season salary each time. Here is a recap of MLB's proposals:

    May 26: 82 games with a sliding salary scale (roughly 33 percent of full season salary)
    June 8: 76 games at 75 percent prorated pay (35 percent of full season salary)
    June 12: 72 games at 80 percent prorated pay (36 percent of full season salary)

    The June 8 and June 12 proposals are conditional. If the postseason is unable to be completed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the players would receive an even smaller portion of their prorated salaries. The MLBPA has proposed 114-game and 89-game seasons with full prorated salary and an expanded postseason in 2020 and 2021.

    MLB has indicated (but not officially proposed) it will pay the players full prorated salary, but only for 48-54 games, or 30-33 percent of their full season salary. The owners claim they will lose money with each game that is played without fans and that a shorter season is the only way to avoid massive losses while paying the players full prorated salary.

    Meyer's letter called out MLB's "underhanded tactics to circumvent the union" and called their negotiating approach "one delay tactic after another." The MLBPA appears to believe Manfred and MLB are repeatedly submitting the same basic proposal to stall until Manfred has no choice but schedule a 48-54 game season because that's all they have time to play.

    1. MLBPA has requested financial information
    Last month the MLBPA requested documents supporting MLB's financial claims and those requests were only partially met. The union believes MLB has not proven its financial situation is as dire as the league has claimed, and they're unwilling to accept another round of pay reductions without evidence. As private businesses, MLB teams do not open their books.

    "(Any) request for further pay cuts would be a significant challenge and would require full financial transparency (which we have not gotten) to even have a meaningful discussion," Meyer wrote in his letter.

    2. The clock is ticking
    Once the season is scheduled -- either because Manfred does so unilaterally or the two sides come to an agreement -- teams will need about 10 days to prepare their training camp sites. An abbreviated three-week spring training would follow. MLB wants the regular season to end no later than Sept. 27 to ensure the postseason doesn't extend into November. Based on that, spring training would have to begin no later than early-to-mid July for a 50-ish game season.

    3. Expanded postseason is on the line
    The MLBPA must approve an expanded postseason format and it is unlikely they would do so should Manfred schedule the season unilaterally. MLB has proposed as many as 16 teams in the postseason to help generate additional revenue. Beyond the schedule, the two sides must also resolve various safety matters related to the pandemic, as well as other on-field and roster rules.

    4. MLBPA could file a grievance
    Should Manfred unilaterally schedule the season, it is very likely the MLBPA would file a grievance alleging MLB did not negotiate in good faith and play as many games as possible. MLB would argue the union did not negotiate salary in good faith. A grievance could take years to resolve and one possible outcome is MLB paying the players a settlement, similar to collusion in the 1980s.

    5. Meanwhile, MLB has a new television deal
    Earlier on Saturday it was reported MLB is finalizing a billion-dollar broadcasting deal with Turner Sports. That deal will begin in 2022 and will not give teams an immediate cash influx, but it is guaranteed future revenue, which can help clubs borrow money to cover short-term expenses. MLB currently receives $350 million a year from Turner.

    6. Another labor fight is looming
    While getting the 2020 season started is the top priority, the current collective bargaining agreement expires in Dec. 2021, and the two sides will spend the next 18 months or so negotiating a new agreement. A work stoppage is not guaranteed but it certainly seems more likely now than at any point since the 1994-95 strike.:

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    • #17
      MLB owners, Rob Manfred plan to impose 60-game 2020 season after failing to reach deal with MLBPA/MLB owners voted unanimously to impose a 2020 season Monday night

      MLB announced Monday night that commissioner Rob Manfred intends to impose a season on the players, following the owners voting unanimously for that option. MLB's statement also put forth two directives to the union, with a request for an answer by 5 p.m. on Tuesday evening. Those matters pertained to the players' ability to report to camp within a week (by July 1) and the ratification of a safety and testing protocol for COVID-19.

      The league's decision came after the MLB Players Association voted to reject Major League Baseball's proposal for a 2020 season on Monday evening. That proposal called for, among other things, a 60-game season, an expanded postseason, and no additional salary guarantees should the season be canceled due to the novel coronavirus. The vote -- which featured one MLBPA representative per team and eight members of the union's executive committee -- was 33-5 against the proposal, CBS Sports HQ's Jim Bowden confirmed.

      Bowden also reported that the imposed season will be 60 games. The players still have to agree to terms on coronavirus safety protocols and on a report date. Those issues could cause another snag, but ESPN's Jeff Passan reports that players are expected to "lock in" a 60-game season that would start July 24.

      Here's the league's statement from Monday night:

      "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."

      Still a work in progress: -

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      • #18
        • MLB announces 60-game season for 2020; Opening Day will be July 23 or 24

        Major League Baseball is set to return. The MLB Players Association (MLBPA) informed the league on Tuesday that players will comply with commissioner Rob Manfred's imposed outline for a 2020 season. Players are set report for another version of "spring" training on July 1, and the league's imposed 60-game season will start either July 23 or 24, the league announced.

        The two sides also finalized coronavirus health and safety protocols on Tuesday night. Here's part of the league's statement announcing MLB's return:

        The health and safety of players and employees will remain MLB's foremost priorities in its return to play. MLB is working with a variety of public health experts, infectious disease specialists and technology providers on a comprehensive approach that aims to facilitate a safe return.

        MLB has submitted a 60-game regular season schedule for review by the Players Association. The proposed schedule will largely feature divisional play, with the remaining portion of each Club's games against their opposite league's corresponding geographical division (i.e., East vs. East, Central vs. Central and West vs. West), in order to mitigate travel. The vast majority of Major League Clubs are expected to conduct training at the ballparks in their primary home cities.

        Commissioner Manfred said: "Major League Baseball is thrilled to announce that the 2020 season is on the horizon. We have provided the Players Association with a schedule to play 60 games and are excited to provide our great fans with Baseball again soon."

        MLB owners voted unanimously Monday night to have Manfred mandate a season. In a statement, Manfred had requested that the players respond by 5 p.m. ET so that the league could proceed with scheduling that imposed season. The league and players failed to reach a modified agreement for a 2020 season after weeks of negotiations and Manfred had the right to impose a schedule thanks to a deal the two sides struck in March.

        The negotiations about a return-to-play plan stalled when it came to the length of the season and the financial compensation players would receive. The union's ability to file a grievance against the league, which could result in a substantial cash windfall, also became a matter of importance later in the talks.

        Originally, the league had submitted a 67-page proposal outlining all the safety and testing protocols that would be installed this season. Little else had been leaked about negotiations concerning those regulations, though the two sides were suggested to be closer than not, with the league bending to players' requests for greater access to medical and training equipment.

        It's worth noting that 40 MLB players and staff members reportedly tested positive for the novel coronavirus in recent days. MLB has also reportedly ordered all spring training sites to be closed and sanitized, and personnel must test negative for COVID-19 before being allowed to return.

        Here are seven other things to know about the 2020 MLB season.

        1. Format of regional schedule finalized
        The exact schedule still needs to be made, but we know the structure of it. Every team will play 40 games against divisional foes (or 10 apiece) and 20 interleague games against the geographical equivalent. The Nationals, for example, will play all their games against NL and AL East teams.

        2. Teams to submit 60-player rosters; will open with 30-player rosters
        Predictably, things are going to move at a rapid pace. That includes teams submitting 60-player rosters for big-league spring training, with that list due to the league office by Sunday at 3 p.m. ET, according to The Athletic's Jayson Stark.

        Stark added in a subsequent tweet that teams don't have to invite all 40 of their players on the 40-player roster to camp, but that those players must be paid regardless of their invite status.

        Once the season begins, teams will be allowed to carry 30 players on their active roster. That number will drop to 28 after two weeks, then 26 after four weeks, according to's Mark Feinsand.

        3. Universal DH among rule changes
        MLB will have at least two rule changes this season: a universal DH (yes, that means pitchers will no longer hit in the NL) and a baserunner placed on second at the start of every half-inning in extras. You can read more about that here.

        4. Transaction freeze to end this week
        On a related note, teams will be able to make transactions again beginning Friday at noon, per Stark. Between that and the subsequent 60-player submission deadline, it's possible that baseball sees its first trades in months before the end of the week.

        5. Trade deadline will fall in August
        Speaking of trades, MLB will have a trade deadline this year after all. Instead of falling on July 31, it'll come a month later, on August 31. Unlike in most years, that will represent the midway point of the season.

        6. COVID-specific inactive list
        According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, MLB will have a COVID-19-specific inactive list that players will be placed on if and when they test positive or show symptoms. There will be no set amount of time for the player to sit out, unlike the injured list, which requires hitters to miss at least 10 days.

        7. Unsigned players head to Nashville?
        Here's perhaps the most surprising element of the details revealed so far. Per Stark, MLB has talked with the city of Nashville about hosting two teams of unsigned players who would be paid to remain in shape as potential replacement players, should the need arise during the season. Teams would then have to pay to add these players. It's unclear exactly who would be involved and how it would work, but it's worth knowing that it's a possibility being discussed.:

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        • #19
          2020 MLB season schedule: Yankees vs. Nationals to highlight prime-time slate on July 23, per report

          The first game of the new season will feature the champs against the Yankees

          We're still awaiting an official release of the 2020 Major League Baseball schedule, but we know it's going to be regional. The traditional Opening Day looks like it'll be July 24 with a few games played on July 23. It's customary for the defending champion to be featured on the day before the official "Opening Day," so this New York Post report makes a lot of sense.

          (T)he current plan in to launch the regular season on July 23, but not with a full slate of games. The highlight of the day will be the Yankees at Nationals Park against the defending champs, likely in prime time, The Post has learned.

          That will be an incredibly fun game to start the season, with the exception to the fun being that the defending champs have to open at home in front of an empty ballpark instead of a full house with a ring ceremony.

          The Opening Day starter for the Yankees will obviously be Gerrit Cole, who we last saw in the bullpen watching his Astros team lose before he sported a Team Boras hat post-game and seemed a bit disgruntled. Now with his new $300-million-plus contract in hand, he's the Yankees ace. He'd be facing off against the Nationals offense centered on Juan Soto while trying to replace the production lost from Anthony Rendon signing with the Angels.

          On the Nationals' side, it could be either Max Scherzer or Stephen Strasburg (or even Patrick Corbin!) facing off against the loaded Yankees' offense that hit a ridiculous 306 homers last season, which would've set the MLB record except that the Twins hit more. Those Yankees didn't even have Giancarlo Stanton for more than 18 games while Aaron Judge only managed 102. They appear to be fully healthy at this point.:

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          • #20
            Everything you need to know as MLB's 2020 season restart begins

            It's here. Finally. Spring training 2.0. Or make that summer camp. Or is it summer training? In any case, Major League Baseball begins its strange 2020 odyssey on Wednesday in the strangest of ways -- but appropriate for the times: testing for a virus that didn't exist a year ago. If cleared, workouts will begin on Friday in major league ballparks across the country. Here's what you need to know.

            What does a typical day at spring training 2.0 look like?

            The actual workouts won't look that different from a February or March day in Arizona or Florida except there will be only one diamond for use. That means some staggered practices, whether that's pitchers throwing bullpens followed by batting practice or vice versa. Pitchers eventually will throw to their own hitters as the latter group tries to find its timing without playing a lot of exhibition games. When everyone is ready, there will be intrasquad games in place of those exhibition contests.

            Before any of it happens, of course, players will get their temperatures checked and be tested for COVID-19 starting on their arrival day at camp and continuing every other day. Any temperature above 100.4 and they'll be sent home.

            How often will players be tested?

            Every other day unless their temperature exceeds 100.4. Then they'll be tested -- no matter the day -- and sent home. They also will be required to take their own temperatures before coming to the ballpark. Anyone with a fever will be told to stay away.

            How will baseball be played differently this year?

            First, there are some significant rules changes, aside from the coronavirus protocols (such as no spitting or pitchers being allowed to carry a wet rag in their back pocket to use for moisture instead of licking their fingers):

            • All National League games will include the designated hitter.

            • In extra innings, each team will begin with a runner on second base. The runner will be the player in the batting order immediately preceding that half-inning's leadoff hitter (or a pinch runner).

            • As previously planned, all relief pitchers must face a minimum of three batters (unless the inning ends).

            • Opening Day rosters will feature 30 active players culled from each team's 60-man player pool. The active roster will be trimmed to 28 players on the 15th day of the season and then to 26 players on the 29th day. There will be no limitations on the number of pitchers (as previously required in a new rule change). Teams will be permitted to carry three players from their taxi squads on road trips, one of whom must be a catcher.

            • The trade deadline is Aug. 31; Sept. 15 is the postseason eligibility deadline.

            After a more than a three month hiatus, MLB players report to their team facilities. There, they will first be tested for the coronavirus, as baseball makes its first steps toward a 2020 season. Jesse Rogers joins to discuss how the restart will play out. Listen to ESPN Daily

            • The standard injured lists will be 10 and 45 days and there will be a separate COVID-19 injured list for players who test positive, have a confirmed exposure to COVID-19 or exhibit symptoms requiring self-isolation.

            • The schedule will be regionally based, with teams playing 40 games within the division and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographical division.

            As for on-field strategies, some things we might see:

            • Due to the short summer camp training session, starters will likely pitch fewer innings the first two or three times through the rotation. You could see things like tandem starters -- two starters throwing three innings in the same game -- and several teams have already announced they plan to go with a six-man rotation. The Braves are a perfect example of a team that could piggyback starters, with a deep rotation that includes Mike Soroka, Mike Foltynewicz, Cole Hamels, Max Fried, Felix Hernandez, Sean Newcomb, Kyle Wright and Touki Toussaint.

            • In general, with the expanded rosters for the first month, expect to see more bullpen usage (although the three-batter rule will eliminate some of the churn). The short season and importance of every game means managers may rely more heavily on their best relievers as they won't have to worry as much about having to keep them fresh for six months and then the playoffs. Look to see more four- and five-out saves from closers.

            • The extra roster spots at the start of the season means we could see more pinch-running/defensive-replacement types used as bench players, a class of player that has largely disappeared in the past couple of decades. The extra-inning baserunner rule in particular means having a speed player on the bench would be of value.

            • The bunt may not be dead! Sacrifice bunts from non-pitchers are rare these days and now pitchers won't be batting, but the extra-inning baserunner rule could lead to some sacrifice bunting.

            Much more:

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            • #21
              MLB Schedule:

              First games - Thursday, July 23, 2020

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