As expected, commissioner Rob Manfred saying on ESPN he was not confident a 2020 MLB season would happen elicited a ton of responses.
The players union forced the owners’ hands on Saturday by telling Manfred to simply impose the schedule, which turned out to be illuminating. Owners, rather than imposing a shortened schedule that would surely lead to a grievance, instead told the players, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, there will be no 2020 season unless the players agree to waive their right to a grievance.
“This latest threat is just one more indication that Major League Baseball has been negotiating in bad faith since the beginning,” Tony Clark said Monday. “This has always been about extracting additional pay cuts from Players and this is just another day and another bad faith tactic in their ongoing campaign.”
Thing are as ugly as they’ve ever been throughout this negotiation.
Manfred's comments to ESPN were taped a few hours ago. After the owners call that was described as "angry" and "frustrated," particularly at threat of grievance.— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) June 15, 2020
What I've seen over past week are owners who can't believe workers are standing up to them. They didn't expect it.
Several major league players reacted Monday. Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer had a long tweet thread saying this latest ploy by the owners is a stall tactic, telling Manfred, “You’re holding a losing hand. Unfortunately, it’s a losing hand for everyone involved, not just you.”
Max Scherzer, who rarely tweets, chimed in:
Rob Manfred and the owners are walking back on their word...AGAIN. The fans do not deserve this. So I’ll say it one more time, tell us when and where.— Max Scherzer (@Max_Scherzer) June 16, 2020
This, from Cubs outfielder Steve Souza Jr., is dark but accurate:
Can we bring Bud Selig back?— Steven Souza Jr. (@SouzaJr) June 15, 2020
Joe Hudson, a catcher with 13 plate appearances in the majors who is a non-roster invitee in Mariners camp this season, had my favorite response on Monday:
For the first time in my life, I’m embarrassed to be a professional baseball player. And I’ve made 7 outs in 4 at bats in 1 game before. This is worse.— Joe Hudson (@joehud4) June 15, 2020
As for the owners lamenting the profitability from the sport, here’s an agent chiming in:
Agent Joel Wolfe on @MLB owners crying poverty:— Patrick Saunders (@psaundersdp) June 15, 2020
"The Marlins played without fans for 15 years, yet still managed to give a player the biggest contract in sports history (Stanton), and then sold the team for a Billion dollar profit, with 5 competing buyers."
- Russell Carleton at Baseball Prospectus examined in great detail the potential cost of a lost 2020 season, noting specifically that it took MLB 12 years to get back to pre-strike attendance levels after the 1994 labor stoppage.
- Even before Manfred’s comments on Monday, Marc Normandin at Baseball Prospectus wrote, “Good-faith negotiations are not possible with an entity such as MLB. The league has spent the pandemic attempting to rally the media and public against the players, knowing full well that the players were legally in the right the entire time.”
- MLB has pushed back the start date of the 2020-21 international signing period — one of their rights earned in the infamous March 26 agreement with players — to January 15, 2021, instead of the normal July 2, per J.J. Cooper at Baseball America.
- If canceling the season over monetary concerns wasn’t bad enough, a letter from MLB says “several players and staff have tested positive for coronavirus”, per the Associated Press. What convenient timing for such a leak!