The good news is that, 12 hours after all those reports of progress, and a new proposals, and a productive meeting, etc., there haven’t yet been any excoriating messages or responses put out. So that’s an enormous change from literally every other step in his process so far. There are still bits of negativity you see out there, though: the sides really still don’t like or trust each other, the players want a lot more than 60 games (but it was a stretch for Rob Manfred to get the owners even there), the deal needs to be really good for the players to waive their right to a grievance, and there are still a lot of other details to agree on.
• An update on the financial side of the proposal – which, again, is much closer to the correct word at this point than “agreement,” which only Heyman has reported (and everyone else has denied):
Owners also agree to $25M player playoff pool plus $33M in salary forgiveness for players already fronted part of $170M advance so min. $ guys wouldn’t return for no $. So in effect players get >100% prorated. In any case some players view latest as only proposal, not agreement
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 18, 2020
• Those two figures are less than in previous offers, though obviously the previous offers did not include fully-prorated pay. I would presume they are in there specifically to be negotiated upwards as concessions to the players, but we’ve seen this dance enough to know that no assumptions are safe. For now, there serious negotiations underway that are on the right track toward a deal, but like I said last night, there are still gaps to bridge, especially on the number of games.
• Regarding the calendar, if the league is dead set on concluding the regular season on September 27 (which is both because of postseason TV contracts and also a second wave of the coronavirus (plus flu season)), then we’re looking at only about 73 days available for the season (after a realistic Spring Training Part Two). Even with a couple doubleheaders mixed in, you’re talking about maybe 66 games. I wish the owners had just offered 70-ish games at full prorated a couple weeks ago, but obviously the stalling on that front worked out. Now, realistically, I hope the sides can get to 66 and agree.
• A reminder that what has always been at risk for the sport goes far beyond the owners’ money, the players’ careers, and even the fans’ enjoyment:
— Hannah Keyser (@HannahRKeyser) June 17, 2020
• Jason Heyward and Curtis Granderson appeared on CNN:
MLB players release video supporting Black Lives Matter
"We just realized we had to speak up for our community. We can no longer be afraid to come together and speak about something positive." – Chicago Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward pic.twitter.com/qntDoVRGH4
— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) June 17, 2020
• It was a little unclear exactly how the Cubs were rolling on the union representation side – we knew that Ian Happ had been performing rep duties lately, but we also knew that Kris Bryant was the long-time team rep – but Happ cleared it up on the radio yesterday. He’s now the sole player rep for the Cubs, and it was actually Bryant who asked Happ to take the mantle, which is dang cool. Bryant is still involved, but I could see why – after the years he’s had being at the forefront of certain labor issues – he might want to take a step back. I doubt Bryant ever FULLY steps back from involvement on the player labor front, because he clearly cares a lot about it, but seems like he deserves a breather. And Happ is smart, increasingly visible, and has seen a range of big league experiences already.
• BY THE WAY, since Ian Happ was the first big leaguer (that I could find) who translated the “just tell us when and where” refrain into a player meme on social media, which picked up steam from there, and which preceded Rob Manfred re-engaging in talks … you might eventually be able to say that Ian Happ saved baseball.
• Big league players helping minor league players:
The @MLBPlayersTrust commits $1 million to help minor leaguers
— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) June 17, 2020
• The Rockies had some fun:
America’s most popular pro sports mascots, a state-by-state breakdown pic.twitter.com/wGYG7jbj28
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) June 16, 2020