MLB and Players Association could agree to start baseball season in early June, per report


Nearly two weeks have passed since Major League Baseball suspended operations due to the spread of the novel coronavirus. Opening Day 2020, which had been scheduled for Thursday, March 26, will now take place later in the year, with the exact date hinging on the effectiveness of the containment strategies imposed across the country. 

Predictably, the delayed season has created logistical complications pertaining to player compensation, service time calculations, and potential schedule alterations. The league and union continue to negotiate on those matters, with a deadline on an agreement set for Wednesday, according to ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan.

Passan has many, many more details from the negotiations than we’ll note here, including the potential that teams will cut staff heading into May, but we’ll hit on three important takeaways. 

1. Both sides hopeful for June start

The best-case scenario for the baseball season appears to be an early June launch. The league and union are said to be hopeful that can happen. Whether or not that proves to be overly optimistic is to be determined. Recall that team executives have already noted the necessity of a four-week ramp-up period — a second spring training, in essence — so pitchers can stretch out their arms. Under the early June scenario, that would mean camps resuming in early May.

2. Players open to doubleheaders

For as long as the start date remains in limbo, it’ll be impossible to get a feel for how many games will be on the table. Passan has talked to numerous players who would be willing to play up to two doubleheaders a week as a way of fattening the schedule. That, plus entertaining empty-stadium games and running the regular season into October, would permit the league its fullest year. For perspective on how many games would be lost if the year does kick off on June 1, consider that last year the Washington Nationals played their 58th game on that date.

3. League has pledged advances

The other most obvious question is how will be compensated and what would happen if the 2020 campaign has to be canceled. Per Passan, the league has pledged an advance of more than $150 million to be split by the union. An important consideration is that the money “would not be repaid to the league in the event of a canceled season.” Should the season be played in any form, the players would likely be paid a prorated amount of their salaries.





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