Major League Baseball and its players are negotiating a deal once again to play the 2020 season after negotiations stopped this past weekend.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement he is “encouraging” teams to move forward with the deal that he called a “jointly developed framework” created between he and MLBPA executive director Tony Clark.
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman added that players agreed to waive filing a grievance. Owners reportedly feared players would file a grievance upon the start of a season if players didn’t get the full salaries they demanded.
The proposal also reportedly includes a 60-game season, a start date of July 19-20 and expanded playoffs the next two years, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
The news all came after Manfred and Clark met face-to-face in Arizona for a “productive” discussion, according to Heyman. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale added that Clark and Manfred met Tuesday after Manfred flew into Phoenix.
The meetings, which Heyman reports was called by the commissioner, come two days after Manfred said he’d lost confidence a 2020 season would occur.
“I think there’s real risk, and as long as there’s no dialogue, that real risk is gonna continue,” Manfred said on an ESPN interview Monday.
“The owners are a 100% committed to getting baseball back on the field. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you that I’m a 100% certain that’s gonna happen.”
The MLBPA, led by Clark, rejected an offer by baseball team owners for a 72-game season over the weekend and ended further negotiations. A letter by Clark ended by asking Manfred to tell players “when and where” to prepare for a season.
Players have responded on their social media accounts repeating the “tell us when and where” call.
An in-person meeting between Clark and Manfred might lend a bit of hope to an ugly dispute between owners and players, the latter of whom have wanted to play as many games as possible after the coronavirus pandemic shut down spring training. The union has held firm it wants prorated salaries.
Meanwhile, team owners have pushed for either further pay cuts or for the season to include closer to 50 games with prorated pay.
“I do believe the pandemic’s been a big reason for this that they’re not sitting face-to-face,” Nightengale told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf on Tuesday. “They’re not holed up in a hotel going off of room service type thing and coming back and spending 36 straight hours staring at one another. I think that’s been an impediment … they haven’t even had a Zoom call in recent weeks.”