With Rob Manfred mandating a 60-game season, MLB players will ultimately play for less.
Last week, MLB players went “all-in” in negotiations with owners. They brought in the “when and where” brigade, getting fans on their side in the battle for a 2020 MLB season.
To their credit, however, the owners saw the movement for what it was and called the players’ bluff, offering a 60-game proposal with a universal DH for 2-years, $25M in playoff pools in 2020, eliminating the qualifying offer, $33M in forgiven salary advances, and more per Ken Rosenthal.
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And what did the players do? They hesitated; they declined the offer, even as MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred modified the owners’ proposal, removing an expanded postseason from the equation.
Why go through all this trouble then? Especially when you know that the result of a decline would be the Commissioner, with all 30 teams on board, to mandate a season anyway?
Even an outspoken player wonders.
Late last night, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer said, “We’re driving the bus straight off the cliff,” referring to the players’ refusal to accept the aforementioned offer. He questioned giving up everything in the proposal “in order to hold on to the right to file a grievance.”
Now, the attention gets focused on health and safety protocols amid a national pandemic that seems to be getting worse before it gets better.
Owners are giving MLB players until 5:00 PM (ET) to decide whether or not they will agree on the operating manual that contains the health and safety protocols needed to complete the season. They also want to know if players can be ready to report to camp in 7-days.
In essence, owners are telling players “when and where.” Now, it’s time for players to put up or shut up.