The MLB hit yet another barricade this afternoon in its pursuit of a return-to-play schedule, and now, league commissioner Rob Manfred is expected to implement a season at the length of his choosing.
Today, the Major League Baseball Players Association executive board rejected the league’s 60-game offer with expanded playoffs by a final vote of 33-5, with the union releasing a statement on the matter shortly after.
“The MLBPA Executive Board met multiple times in recent days to assess the status of our effort to resume the 2020 season,” the union said. “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 finalizing 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.”
Now, as USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports, Manfred is expected to implement a 60-game season set to begin July 29.
Commissioner Rob Manfred is scheduled to implement a 60-game season that will start July 29, although no official announcement yet
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 22, 2020
With this, the players retain their right to grieve the terms and conditions of the agreement they reached with the MLB back in March that allows for prorated pay. There is also a strong possibility some players choose not to play, while upcoming free agents could be forced to take a significant hit on the open market with less money to go around.
Above all else, failing to reach an agreement now kicks the can down the road to next offseason, likely sparking further questions and frustrating times for all parties involved.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer – among numerous other MLB players – expressed his concern with the sequence of events and what it means for the future of baseball.
“Fans want baseball. The vast majority of players want baseball. Most owners want baseball. Seems like everyone is in agreement yet we have no agreement and no baseball. How?” Bauer said on his Twitter page. “It’s absolute death for this industry to keep acting as it has been. Both sides. We’re driving the bus straight off a cliff. How is this good for anyone involved? Covid 19 already presented a lose-lose-lose situation and we’ve somehow found a way to make it worse. Incredible.
“If there’s going to be a fight, the time for that fight is after the ‘21 season when a new CBA is negotiated. 5 years of potential change,” Bauer continued. “We’re doing irreparable damage to our industry right now over rules that last AT MOST 16 months. WTF kind of sense does that make?”
While baseball is expected to be back in just over a month, it appears the frustrations are just getting started.