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MLB will implement 2020 schedule after players reject final proposal from owners

Up next: With no agreement, Rob Manfred will implement a 2020 schedule

MLB Welcome To Australia Press Conference Photo by Matt King/MLB via Getty Images

On Monday the Major League Baseball Players Association rejected the latest iteration of a proposal from the owners. Commissioner Rob Manfred responded by saying MLB would implement a schedule at his discretion, which could potentially lead to a grievance from the players.

The voters included all 30 team representatives plus the union’s executive subcommittee.

“Earlier this evening, the full board reaffirmed the players’ eagerness to return to work as soon and as safely as possible,” the MLBPA said in a statement. “To that end we anticipate finalizing a comprehensive set of health and safety protocols with Major League Baseball in the coming days, and we await word from the league on the resumption of spring training camps and a proposed 2020 schedule.”

What the players voted on was essentially similar to the owners’ proposal from last week, though with the caveat that should the 2020 season not be completed then there wouldn’t be expanded playoffs nor a universal designated hitter in 2021.

Had the players and owners been able to come to an agreement, the 2020 season would have included expanded playoffs — reportedly from 10 to 16 teams — and the designated hitter in the National League. But those things can’t be implemented without an agreement.

MLB said it plans to implement a season, though it didn’t say exactly how long.

“In order to produce a schedule with a specific number of games, we are asking that the Players Association provide to us by 5:00 p.m. (ET) tomorrow with two pieces of information,” MLB said in a statement. “The first is whether players will be able to report to camp within seven days (by July 1st). The second is whether the Players Association will agree on the Operating Manual which contains the health and safety protocols necessary to give us the best opportunity to conduct and complete our regular season and Postseason.”

The question is just how much time there will be in MLB’s preferred calendar to implement said season. Their last offer was 60 games, but that was spread over 70 days. Under the original MLB schedule for 2020, teams had between 61-64 games scheduled from July 20 to Sept. 27:

  • 64 games: 3 teams
  • 63 games: 12 teams
  • 62 games: 12 teams
  • 61 games: 3 teams

But with the proliferation of positive coronavirus tests from various teams in the last week, and MLB shutting down all 30 spring training facilities to clean, it’s unclear if starting a season by July 20 is feasible at this point.

If you’re suffering from labor talks fatigue, you’re not alone. A sampling from players unhappy with the public nature of negotiations: