MLB Season to Be Delayed Further, League and Players Working on Plans and Compensation

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MLB Season to Be Delayed Further, League and Players Working on Plans and Compensation

Chicago Cubs

The league and the Players Association continue to discuss a range of issues today, with – it sounds like – a particular focus on two broad topic areas: what happens with Spring Training facilities during this shutdown, and what happens with player compensation?

As far as when Spring Training Part Two could get underway, let alone when the regular season could being, Joel Sherman reports that simply hasn’t been a focus of these talks yet because of the other more immediate issues.

I’m saying that part up front, because I think we’re at a point right now where these kinds of reports, while they may indeed be things these writers are hearing, are really so open to wild estimates and precursors and literal national emergency questions that we just can’t know:

Maybe it’ll be in July. Maybe later. Maybe earlier. Maybe it’ll depend on how long the season is. These are not knowable things right now, so let’s all try not to twist ourselves in knots anticipating a start date.

So, then. Moving back to things that we do know. Here’s what the Commissioner conceded about the original April 9th date – everyone knew that was a pipe dream – and also the (probably also a pipe dream) remaining hope to play a full schedule this year:

As we’ve discussed, even if the season starts up as soon as mid-May – highly unlikely given CDC guidance – it’s almost impossible to create a schedule that could fit 162 games in while keeping players healthy and keeping the postseason out of late-November/early-December.

The Players Association have kept agents in the loop about where things stand and what’s being discussed:

Getting players settled safely somewhere they can be with their loved ones and also work out (if they want to stay in shape), with funds coming to cover the guys who don’t have huge bankrolls, should be the first priority at this point. Once that’s settled, then it seems like the MLBPA and MLB will have plenty of time to work through the complicated issues that will attend a season that very likely will lose a whole lot of games, and will played on a calendar no one anticipated.

Frankly, it’s going to have to be an entire mini-CBA negotiation, because when the games aren’t played, the revenue isn’t generated, but the contracts are guaranteed, but those contracts can be suspended, but what about service time that is based on days when a lot of those days go missing, and is the luxury tax recalibrated … and on and on. There will be significant financial pain to be absorbed, and the owners and players are going to have to negotiate how to apportion it. With a month or two delay? It might be fairly easy to just prorate some things, and still give guys full service year credit or whatever. But if they wind up losing an entire half of a season? That’s going to lead to some tense negotiations, where not every player is on the same page about the best compromises, nor is every team on the same page either.

That, too, is a discussion for another day. Get the players all initially settled and squared away, then start negotiating.

UPDATE: MLB has made the further delay official, and directly tied it to the CDC’s recommendation we discussed this morning:



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.