98.5 The Sports Hub staff report
Despite multiple volleys at the negotiating table, the MLB and MLBPA remain engaged in a standoff surrounding the 2020 season. And given the sizable gap between the sides, it’s become increasingly difficult to imagine baseball getting on the diamond at any point in 2020. But speaking with the MLB Network, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred outright guaranteed a season.
“We’re going to play baseball in 2020,” Manfred said. “100 percent.”
To date, Manfred’s confidence seems relatively unfounded.
With major and seemingly unavoidable losses on the table for both sides, the MLB and its players have repeatedly squabbled over games, pro-rated salaries, and even the playoff field. With their dollars in mind, the sense is that the players want as many games as possible while the owners want as few as possible. Even with a potentially expanded playoff field, the MLBPA has understandably sought as many guaranteed dollars as possible. The sides are also running out of time, however, with hope of an early-July start fading with each denied proposal between the sides.
But this is where Manfred’s confidence in his powers come into play, as the commissioner has the ability to implement a schedule of his own should these negotiations continue to go nowhere fast.
“If it has to be under the March 26 agreement, if we get to that point in the calendar, so be it,” said Manfred. “But one way or the other we’re playing Major League Baseball.”
That Mar. 26 agreement Manfred mentioned is an agreement between the MLB and the MLBPA in which players agreed to prorate their 2020 salaries based on the number of games played.
And should Manfred be the one to make the call on the 2020 season, it’s believed that it would be closer to the 50-game season that the owners have proposed, and that the playoffs would go on with its normal 10-team format.
The MLB has been on an indefinite hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic since Mar. 12.