MLB still can’t figure out how to put players back on the field to resume the season that was called off due to the coronavirus just ahead of Opening Day this past March.  Team owners and players have been locked in a battle for more than a month now, sending proposals back and forth that continue to be rejected by the opposing side. It now seems that the MLB owners are ready to make another pitch to players today that is meant to finally bring peace to the league, but which could end up ruining baseball for 2020.

MLB Owners Makes Another Pitch To Players

According to Karl Ravech of ESPN, MLB owners are going to make this new pitch today and that it will include a season that spans 70 to 76 games.  Players would receive between 80-85% of their prorated salaries, which is just a slight bump above what they suggested in their most recent offer.  In addition, the 2020 season would see an expanded playoff series and players would be entitled to a portion of the playoff pool.

Jon Heyman of the NLB Network got wind of the proposal, as well, and tweeted about the new MLB pitch earlier today.  He states, “MLB expected make 72-game proposal today to players for more than 80 percent of prorated pay if there’s a postseason. MLB also expected to significantly raise the percent from 50% in the event the postseason has to be canceled.”

The statements fall in line with comments made by Colin Cowherd of Fox Sports, as well as his own Live on The Herd radio broadcast, yesterday.

“I was told last night by a source that I trust inside baseball that they’re close,” Cowherd said. “My prediction is that the MLS will start July 8th, and that baseball will start July 10th. I’m going to make a prediction that in 48 hours – this is from a source up the ladder – that we will have a resolution and be on our way. I’m going all in on this, there will be around 75-80 games. The owners want to wrap up the regular season by September 27th, and they do not want to play in November. The owners have no interest, and are worried about a second wave of the virus. Frankly, they don’t want to play in crappy weather either… By 10:35 PT on Saturday, we will have a deal done.”

The Owner’s Plan Faces A Huge Obstacle

MLB owners had stated last week that they weren’t going to submit any additional proposals, but have obviously had a change of heart.  Since discussions first began regarding how to get the season going again, players have been standing their ground that anything less than 100% of prorated salaries would not be acceptable.  There’s a good chance that they will continue to maintain that position after receiving the latest pitch from the owners in the MLB.

Heyman added in a tweet following his revelation of the pending proposal, “MLB has removed the tiered pay system it originally proposed, and raised the % of pay, especially in the event the postseason has to be canceled.  But the changes have been incremental, there’s no confidence players will accept and no evidence they’ll move off full prorated pay.”  He doesn’t believe that the chances are 50-50 or even weak – he asserts that the players are going to reject the new MLB pitch completely.  That, once again, puts the odds of a 2020 season happening very slim.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred can take control and mandate the number of games that are played, per an agreement owners and players made this past March.  However, should that happen, a number of players have already promised that they would boycott the season completely.  League executives are also beginning to get really concerned about the season’s potential, with one unidentified executive telling USA Today, “If we don’t get an agreement real soon, this is going to be ugly. Real ugly. And it’s just going to get worse.”

Trouble Brewing For MLB’s Latest Recruits

MLB just wrapped up its draft, which only saw five rounds compared to the normal 40.  This means that a lot of hopefuls expecting to make their debut in the majors won’t get their chance.  Next year, the draft is expected to only have 20 rounds, once again reducing access to MLB for a number of college-level players who have dreamed of making it to the big league since the first time they swung a bat.

Those who did make it can now only wait to see what happens.  Among these are third baseman Spencer Torkelson from Arizona State, who went first in the draft when he was picked by the Detroit Tigers, and outfielder Heston Kjerstad, picked second out of Arkansas and now bound for the Baltimore Orioles.   Kjerstad was a surprise pick, as Vanderbilt’s Austin Martin had been expected by many to go second, but the shortstop wound up being chosen fifth and is headed to the Toronto Blue Jays.