ESPN reported yesterday that MLB owners approved a proposal that commissioner Rob Manfred plans to present to players today on a return-to-play scenario that aims to have baseball back in home stadiums by early July.
Today’s meeting between MLB and the Players Association will set the stage for what both parties expect to be a contentious negotiation. While MLB could benefit long term from being the first American team sport to return amid the coronavirus pandemic, the logistics of starting the season remain convoluted and require player support.
The heart of the matter is, as usual, money. As you can imagine, the owners are fearful of deep financial losses with fan-free stadiums and want to get back to work as quickly as humanly possible.
Problem is the MLBPA may not think it is humanly possible to play games that early.
Guess that explains why the owners have already agreed to a 50-50 revenue split with the players—hoping they are desperate to get back to making money as well.
Thing is, that may not be enough.
Because depending on how late the season starts, half the money made may be a lot less than what players would stand to make under their current contracts.
Which is why the MLBPA is almost certain to reject that element of the proposal and counter that a March agreement between the parties guaranteed players a prorated portion of their salaries depending on the number of games played. The ability to strike a financial deal could mean the difference between a baseball season and one that is canceled.