MLB commissioner Rob Manfred held a conference call with the 30 team owners on Monday to discuss the league’s plan to relaunch the 2020 season. The plan was approved, Ken Rosenthal’s reports from Athletic, and will be delivered to MLBPA on Tuesday. The first proposition is just that: a first proposition. There will surely be counter-proposals and counter-proposals, etc.
Here are the main elements included in the MLB proposal, sources close to Monday’s conference call told CBS Sports:
- Regional calendar of 82 games and universal DH
- Active lists of 30 men with a taxi team of 20 players
- 14 playoff teams with games played in their hometowns in October
- 50/50 income split for players and owners
The hope is that the opening day will take place in early July. USA Night’s Bob Nightengale reports that teams may have the option of hosting a training camp at their spring training complex or baseball stadium in June. Some clubs may prefer to keep players at home, and also escaping the heat of Arizona and the humidity of Florida in June is desirable. The downside to home training is the lack of space – spring training complexes have multiple areas – and competition. Teams would be limited to intrasquad matches.
Monday night, hinting that this is something the union will not accept.
Here is a breakdown of the MLB’s proposal to start the 2020 season after the COVID-19 pandemic..
Regional calendar of 82 games and universal DH
To limit travel and essentially isolate teams geographically, clubs could play regional schedules of 82 games. The two eastern divisions would be played, the two central divisions would be played and the two western divisions would be played. The two-league, six-division format would remain, although increasing matches between leagues requires universal DH. Universal DH would also protect launchers. MLB and MLBPA are concerned about the increased risk of injury following the arrest.
If the regular season started in early July, the all-star game at Dodger Stadium would be postponed, according to Nightengale. It is unclear whether it would be postponed for another time or canceled entirely. The all-star game is scheduled for July 14, and the four-day star break would likely be used instead for regular season games.
Active lists of 30 men with a taxi team of 20 players
For all intents and purposes, the MLB suggests that clubs have lists of 50 players in 2020 to help manage the condensed schedule and limit the risk of injury. There will be 30 active players for each match with 20 others on what equals a team of taxis. It is extremely unlikely that there will be a minor league season in 2020 and a 20-player taxi team is the best way to keep players ready and available as injury substitutes and recall options. Other minor leaguers could participate in what amounts to extended training in the spring at each team’s complex, although nothing has yet been finalized on this front.
In order to recoup its revenue and make things a little fairer after a shortened regular season, the MLB will offer an expanded field for the playoffs. More precisely,. Here’s a reminder on how it would work:
Players do not receive wages during the playoffs, but they do receive bonuses through post-season actions, and MLBPA would likely be on board in an expanded format. Maybe not this particular format, but one that puts more teams into the tournament, generates more revenue and leads to more post-season shares.
It should be noted that plans to play additional regular season games in October and postpone the playoffs in November have been put on hold. The MLB does not want to have to stop the sport in the middle of the post-season if there is another COVID-19 wave in the fall. Their goal is to play as many regular season and playoff games as quickly as possible.
Revenue sharing plan
Despite its prorated wages agreement in March,. MLB will offer a 50/50 income split in 2020. The way that money is distributed among players is likely at the discretion of MLBPA.
Revenue sharing agreements are common in other sports – NFL players get 48%, NHL players get 50% and NBA players get 49-51% depending on expected revenue – but this would be unprecedented in MLB.. The problem of reducing wages is the most important obstacle to be overcome.