The Players Association sent a counter-proposal Sunday night to MLB’s original overture on how to handle a myriad of issues impacting the game such as whether players will be paid or not, The Post has learned.
MLB’s first offer included a lump payment to all major leaguers to help especially those most in need due to missed games and lost paychecks. Because it had to negotiate this with a union, MLB was dealing with major leaguers first before addressing if and how to pay minor leaguers and club employees/gameday workers who are financially impacted by this shutdown.
The union was anticipating a response perhaps as early as Monday and there was hope that a deal could be finalized in the coming days as the sides reacted to the suspension of operations caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
For now, both sides know that there will not be a return to even a second spring training before mid-May. Commissioner Rob Manfred held a conference call of about a half-hour with the 30 owners Monday to update them on current conditions in a fluid atmosphere. He acknowledged what had become obvious even without his words, that the first hoped for return of April 9 was not happening.
In a statement, Manfred cited the Center for Disease Control’s Sunday recommendation restricting events of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks as the reason to push back the start of the season into at least mid-May. However, no dates were established for a return and MLB has yet to state if it plans to cancel or move locales/dates for the June 10-12 draft in Omaha or the July 14 All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium. MLB said it would react to real-time events and advice from experts before setting any timelines.
However, the commissioner reiterated his commitment ” to playing as many games as possible when the season begins.” For now, though, MLB and the union have only spoken in generalities about what a schedule could look like, feeling that would not be time used well now without a firm return date. Instead, they have focused on more immediate concerns about finances, logistics and safety.
The sides have been in regular either face-to-face or now electronic communication since Friday trying to deal with all that has come from shutting down the game due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pretty much every element of player/management relationship is impacted by the suspension of play, such as pay, service time, how to handle performance bonuses and — at this moment — how to house players (notably from other countries) who may not be able to get home or have concerns about getting back into the United States when there is clearance to return to play.