Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams was on the Reds Hot Stove League show on Wednesday night. He joined hosts Tommy Thrall and Jim Day for the show and one of the very first things he addressed was the current situation of no baseball and the on-going negotiations between ownership around Major League Baseball and the players. Thrall asked Williams “What is your level of optimism right now?” about the negotiations. He’s the response from Williams:

Right now the sides are talking, getting down to brass tax, they’re exchanging specific proposals. Jim’s right, get in the most amount of games. The sooner we get going the better. There’s no reason we can’t get this thing started soon. We’ve got some economic issues that the players association and MLB are going to work out and some health discussions to be had. I’m confident our staff will implement all the health protocols and the players will be kept safe. So let’s get the economic issues resolved and get going. I really think both sides want to play. That’s all I hear from our players. That’s all I hear from our ownership. The sides want to make a deal happen. It’s there to be had and I think we’re very close.

While Williams is certainly optimistic in his response, not everyone is quite there with him on the optimism meter. C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic had this to say last night:

As we’ve noted here before, MLB rejected the MLBPA’s proposal of a 114-game schedule earlier this week. Rob Manfred as the commissioner of baseball, reportedly has the ability to unilaterally set the length of the season as long as the players are paid their prorated salaries according to the agreement between the two sides that was reached in March. The rumors are that the owners don’t want to use that option, which would seemingly put them in about a 50-60 game schedule, but that it’s there if the two sides can’t come to a different agreement. That would then put the players in a situation to either play or to strike.

It seems like, assuming the health side of things can be taken care of, there’s going to be a season of some kind in 2020. How long that season lasts, and when that season starts, however, is a much bigger question.

With all of that said, Thrall, Day, and Williams address many other things on the Hot Stove League show, including giving updates on Eugenio Suarez, Nick Senzel, talking a little bit about the upcoming draft, and more. You can listen to the entire Hot Stove League show below. You can subscribe to the podcast on pretty much every single one of your favorite podcast apps, or you can manually add the RSS feed into your podcast app of choice, too.

12 Responses

  1. Cbus

    A 50-60 game season would feel illegitimate to me and I wouldn’t even care who won the so called playoffs in the end. They’ve got to find a way to get in at least 80-100 games imo for this season to feel anything close to real.

    • Michael E

      I disagree. I get that a mediocre team could make it, but no bad team will.

      Whomever wins the WS will have face three teams in long playoff series, to win it all (more maybe more if they redo playoffs for some reason and let more teams in). You don’t navigate three or more 5+ or 7+ game series with subpar skill and lots of luck. One series, maybe, MAYBE, but not three against superior teams…unless that team is more superior than we gave them credit in the pre-season (like our Reds not getting many 1st place votes, even with best SP in division and much improved lineup).

      30 more games would reduce the chance of a poor team squeaking in, but doesn’t eliminate it (neither does 162 games). If a said poor team makes it and runs the playoff table, then they’re legit…end of story.

  2. ClevelandRedsFan

    Anyone here have any idea why the NBA, NHL, and MLS aren’t having the same battles over money that MLB is? Perhaps their meetings are just behind closed doors. But mannn, seems like MLB is the only sport right now fighting over money.

    • Doug Gray

      Because the NBA and NHL have already played nearly the entirety of the season, so the amount of money to be “fought” over is like 10% of the season pay, and at least in the NBA, there’s revenue split between players and owners, so it’s already basically settled.

      I can’t speak on MLS because I don’t know nearly enough about what’s going on there.

  3. John C.

    Baseball always fights about money. As a fan, it is depressing. I never feel baseball cares about the fans. It seems like both sides just want to win the battle over money. They tend to forget we write the checks.

    • Doug Gray

      “We” write the checks for literally everything. And every single company is always fighting with the workers over money and trying to give them the absolute bare minimum that they can. This isn’t a baseball problem, it’s a people problem. The only difference is that in sports we know what the workers make.

  4. Matt WI

    Wondered the same thing. Nobody is going to care if they have one more week of conditioning, they just want to see action. Maybe it’s more to do with site preparations.

  5. Jim Walker

    All I would add about NHL is that it is reputedly the hardest cap of any major North American sport. The players’ % of revenue is set; and, portions of salaries are actually held in escrow pending settlement of accounts for a given season. And that is in “ordinary” times.

    In fact, the NHLPA has brought in Donald Fehr, yes the former MLBPA director, to try and negotiate a better deal, particularly where the escrow system is involved.

  6. Jim Walker

    This is neither the place or time to go into great detail; but, as I have learned about the NHL player control contract system, I have seen elements that might work for baseball both from the owners and player side.

    The owners seem to want fewer prospects under direct team control and obligation, i.e. the minor league contraction and shrinkage of the draft. The players would like a quicker path to free agency. The NHL system would seem to offer both of these.

    Maybe if the world ever gets back to being more normal and mundane; and, Doug thinks it worthwhile, I might write about these thoughts in a more detailed look.

  7. ClevelandRedsFan

    MLB and MLBPA have completely lost the ability to comprehend the situation from the others’ side. Every proposal is immediately called a non-starter. I’m really starting to think owners and players don’t want to play this year and are using this to set the the stage for the next CBA negotiations.