Major League Baseball may be one step closer to saving the 2020 season.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that he extended another offer with an improved prorated pay to Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark during an in-person meeting on Wednesday.
Manfred, who is trying to reignite talks to restart baseball, offered a package deal that includes a 60-game regular season in 70 days beginning July 19 and a 16-team postseason in 2020 and 2021. The plan also includes a full prorated salary and is contingent upon the players association agreeing to waive its right to file a grievance against MLB for negotiating in bad faith.
“At my request, Tony Clark and I met for several hours yesterday in Phoenix,” Manfred said in a statement. “We left that meeting with a jointly developed framework that we agreed could form the basis of an agreement and subject to conversations with our respective constituents. I summarized that framework numerous times in the meeting and sent Tony a written summary today. Consistent with our conversations yesterday, I am encouraging the Clubs to move forward and I trust Tony is doing the same.”
This comes a day after several MLB owners were reportedly against the idea of having a season. According to SNY, there were six owners who weren’t interested in having a season, and The Athletic reported that it could be as many as eight or more.
Manfred had said ahead of last week’s amateur draft that there would be a season. However, he appeared to walk back this statement on Monday.
“I’m not confident. I think there’s real risk; and as long as there’s no dialogue, that real risk is going to continue,” Manfred told ESPN. “The owners are 100 percent committed to getting baseball back on the field. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you that I’m 100 percent certain that’s going to happen.”
Major League Baseball players and their union chief responded to Manfred’s reversal on whether there was going to be a season at all amid a fight over salaries in a pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
Clark said in a statement that players were “disgusted” over Manfred’s comments to ESPN on Monday night.
“Players are disgusted that after Rob Manfred unequivocally told players and fans that there would ‘100 percent’ be a 2020 season, he has decided to go back on his word and is now threatening to cancel the entire season,” Clark said.
“Any implication that the Players Association has somehow delayed progress on health and safety protocols is completely false, as Rob has recently acknowledged the parties are ‘very, very close.’ This latest threat is just one more indication that Major League Baseball has been negotiating in bad faith since the beginning. 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.”
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.