What a 10 minute ride we just had in the baseball world. At 2:23pm ET Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported that the MLBPA and MLB were closing in on an agreement to play the 2020 season and that the deal was expected to be for prorated pay and would include expanded playoffs.

Then entire minutes later, Evan Drellich of The Athletic reported that sources said no deal is close yet between the two sides because the proposal was just sent by Major League Baseball and that there was no agreement even in principle at this point.

Two minutes after that, it was Jon Heyman again reporting that as a part of the pending agreement to play that the union had agreed to waive any grievance against Major League Baseball.

So what does this all mean? Well, it could mean a lot, and technically, both reports can be true. How can they both be true? Well, Heyman could be correct that the two sides are close because Rob Manfred and Tony Clark have met in person over the last two days and Major League Baseball did send over a proposal – and it’s unlikely they would have done so after those meetings if it wasn’t going to be met with likely approval from the players. Clark knows what his guys want and will almost assuredly vote yes on.

At the same time, Drellich could be correct in his reporting because the proposal was just sent over to the players today. That means that the players have not even seen the proposal yet. They are still going to need to look at it, and then discuss any issues that they may have with it, and then vote on approving, denying, or countering it with alterations to it. That’s going to take at least a little bit of time.

Both things can be true, even though on the surface they do seem to conflict with each other. Now, getting to the whole grievance part of things. That’s where it gets a little more interesting. The grievance, it would seem, is only there if the ownership side does not make an attempt to play as many games as possible while paying the prorated salary that was agreed upon in the March agreement between the two sides.

There are two theories out there about this concession. The first is that ownership is actually making an attempt at playing as many games as possible, and thus the grievance couldn’t even be filed. The other theory is that perhaps the expanded playoffs means the regular season ending a week earlier, so the World Series can still end “on time” from the owners standpoint – and the two sides are meeting in the middle on a “regular season” number of games as a result, which would have the players willing to drop the grievance clause of the March contract as a result. Or it could be something else entirely that this particular writer hasn’t seen or hasn’t been able to come up with.

This is a developing story and we will keep an eye out for more updates and share them here if they come in.

Update at 3:05pm ET

From the Major League Baseball Players Association:

Worth noting, of course, that this isn’t necessarily news suggesting they have turned down the offer. This is simply saying that there is no agreement in place. As noted above, the proposal from Major League Baseball was just submitted at some point today. The players likely haven’t even had a chance to go over it entirely at this point, much less discuss it among the teams with their reps bringing back the feedback.

Update at 3:10pm ET

Things are moving fast. Buster Olney of ESPN is reporting that the proposal by Major League Baseball would be for 60 games, at prorated salaries, with a season beginning on July 19th.

Update at 3:17pm ET

Jeff Passan of ESPN just shared this, and it’s certainly worth noting that it’s likely going to result in a counter offer from the players.

Craig Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus was on a similar page:

Updated at 3:40pm ET

Robert Murray is now reporting this:

Update at 3:50pm ET

Rob Manfred has released a statement:

At my request, Tony Clark and I met for several hours yesterday in Phoenix. We left that meeting with a jointly developed framework that we agreed could form the basis of an agreement and subject to conversations with our respective constituents. I summarized that framework numerous times in the meeting and sent Tony a written summary today. Consistent with our conversations yesterday, I am encouraging the Clubs to move forward and I trust Tony is doing the same.

24 Responses

  1. Old-school

    If the reds played home and home 4 games series with NL central division, that’s 32 games. I want 70 games but 32 more against non NL central teams would give scheduling symmetry with 64 games and 1/2 the schedule against division opponents.

    Eight of 15 teams per league making the playoffs would ease the loss of 6 + regular season games.

    Every series would be crucial.

  2. Old-school

    Manfred issued a statement a framework is in place.

  3. Sliotar

    Players now with a 60-game proposal on the table, trying to squeeze a few more games.

    Reverse of what has happened to date … where owners knew they could set a schedule and were trying to pay as little as possible.

    Just hard-nosed business …. hopefully it is hours now, not days before a deal is finalized.

  4. Sliotar

    IMO … many players are likely “cash flow” starved.

    Thus, very willing to waive grievance, sign acknowledgement of health risks … whatever else to get back to playing and start getting checks again.

    Ex-Rockie Ryan Spilborghs, 2 pm ET hour on MLB Radio today ….

    “The players are ‘starving’ for regular payments. Have not had them since October. I had to go back to my broadcast company recently and tell them I needed a payment.”

    • Sliotar

      The old saying is true, even among professional athletes … “It’s not how much you make, it’s how much you end up being able to save.”

  5. Mark Moore

    The way this is unfolding, I swear we’re dealing with Schrodinger’s Baseball Season … would somebody just open the box and see if there really is a cat in it, please?

    • ClevelandRedsFan

      The season is both alive and dead. For now just smile and don’t open that darn box.

  6. Colorado Red

    Let’s hope something gets done.
    Maybe in the range of 70 games.

  7. Don

    would be nice if an agreement occurs.

    my guess is there will be some fans in the seats in August and September.

  8. TR

    I think 65 will be golden number. Here is schedule. You play each team in your division 10 games with home/away 5 game sets. This limits travel and each set makes teams start all 5 pitchers to be fair. You play 5 games against each AL Central team. Half the teams will have 5 more/less “Home” games but doesn’t matter since no fans. Does that seem reasonable?

    • JayTheRed

      I have a feeling you are right about this. I would love to see 70 games or even 75 but I don’t think the owners will be willing to go that high with full prorated amounts.

      I also like the idea of playing your own division and then playing the AL Central teams. At least for the Reds this season. White Sox / Reds games will be very interesting considering how much those team spent this past offseason. Who knows if they allow fans at some point I might try to go to at least one of those game plus at least a few of the Brew Crew and the Reds.

      • TR

        I think you schedule AL games first while there will be no fans. Then if fans the division games could be equal out with whatever fans allowed if it happens.

    • TBD

      TR
      A couple of months ago I had mentioned the play teams in your own division to limit travel and off days needed.
      But, I really like you add-on that I hadn’t considered of playing in the opposite league in your area for a few games each, for the same reasoning.

  9. mountaineer Redleg

    so a 7 game winner will win the Cy Young award?

    • vegastypo

      Or, maybe we’ll finally get a .400 hitter ?????????

      Break out the asterisks !!!!!!!!!

  10. Klugo

    Start July 12. Play 66. No grievance. Done. Now let’s get to the task at hand. Beaning Astros.

    • Colorado Red

      I could go for that. There would be no grievance, if the MLBPA agrees to it.

  11. Steven Nelson

    I wonder how such a short season will affect managers’ and players’ approach. We’ve all heard the mantra that baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. This year, it’ll be sort of a 5k. Will we see more “all-out” defensive play? Will pitchers throw harder or go further into games? Will veterans still get off days? Will players who start the season in a slump make desperate changes quicker?

    I’m also wondering about some of the rate stats. This could be the year somebody finally hits .400 again. How do you deal with the record books, if that happens?

    Thoughts?

  12. vegastypo

    Now what???!!! My interest in them coming to any sort of an agreement is rapidly approaching ‘DOA’ as well. This is from a Yahoo story ….

    Owners say newest proposal is ‘DOA’

    Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, one owner called Thursday’s proposal dead on arrival. While Joel Sherman of the New York Post says owners believed Manfred and Clark left their face-to-face with the framework of a deal, and did not seem to be expecting such a counter from the players. Manfred himself said Thursday he believed he and Clark had a deal:

    • Doug Gray

      Manfred is talking out of both sides of his mouth. He literally said in a press release that the meeting was a “framework” towards a deal. Not that it was a deal.

  13. BigRedMike

    “It’s time to get back to work. Tell us when and where.”

    Guess that is not true

    That said, the last MLBPA proposal seems reasonable

    This whole thing is just stupid

  14. REDSMAN

    Two dinosaurs circling one another moments before the asteroid strikes! I think we are all sick of the infantile squabblings over the last grubby dollar bill!
    Let’s play some ball!

  15. Jefferson J Reed

    I don’t think there’s a real group of owners, large or small, that really wants a 2020 season.