The MLB and the MLBPA decided to accelerate negotiations on Sunday due to a growing number of players testing positive with coronavirus.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 21, 2020
USA Today reported that 40 players and staff members tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week, further delaying the season. The MLB and the MLBPA had agreed that the season would start on July 19, but the new cases mean that the season could not start until July 26. (RELATED: Tampa Bay Mayor Makes Masks Mandatory As Coronavirus Cases Rise)
“I really believe we are fighting over an impossibility on games,’’ MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said to MLBPA chief Tony Clark in an email obtained by USA Today.“The earliest we will be ready for players to report is a week from Monday [June 29] given the need to relocate teams from Florida. That leaves 66 days to play 60 games.”
The MLB has offered players a 60 game schedule, with a guarantee of $1.5 billion to players salaries, per USA Today. Players are still concerned, however, that more cases could shorten the season even further and reduce their pay. Teams will also now be practicing at their own home ballparks due to coronavirus fears.
The MLB and the MLBPA have already agreed to implement a universal designated hitter in 2020 and 2021 as well as expanding the postseason to 16 teams, USA Today reported. The MLB offered to cancel those plans if the season cannot be completed.
The MLBPA is also expected to ask if players who live with a “high-risk” person, such as a pregnant wife, could have the right to opt out of the 2020 season and receive payment, per USA Today. The MLB currently guarantees payment for players who have a “high-risk” of being seriously affected by COVID-19. Players that are not “high-risk” may opt out, but will not receive payment.
Baseball state of mind pic.twitter.com/oEvzA8fZyz
— Gerrit Cole (@GerritCole45) June 15, 2020
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout and New York Yankees pitcher Garrit Cole both have pregnant wives that are due this summer, according to USA Today.