Over the weekend, and on Monday, the Major League Baseball Players Association discussed whether or not they wanted to accept, or even counter the deal offered to them by Major League Baseball that would delay the start of the regular season by a month, shorten it to 154 games, add the designated hitter, and add two additional teams to the playoffs. Late on Monday night the MLBPA officially rejected the offer.
The Major League Baseball Players Association today released the following statement on Players’ commitment to begin the 2021 season on time:
Late last week, the MLBPA for the first time this offseason received a proposal from MLB to delay Spring Training and Opening Day by approximately one month.
Under the proposal, the end of the season would be delayed one week, the regular season would be shortened to 154 games and all 30 teams would be required to play several doubleheaders. Players would also be required to accept previously rejected proposals that link expanded playoffs with expansion of the designated hitter.
Although Player salaries would not be initially prorated to a 154-game regular season, MLB’s proposal offers no salary or service time protections in the event of further delays, interruptions, or cancellation of the season.
The MLBPA Executive Board and Player leadership reviewed and discussed the owners’ proposal throughout the weekend and today. The clear-cut result of these deliberations is that Players will not accept MLB’s proposal, will instead continue preparations for an on-time start to the 2021 season, and will accept MLB’s commitment to again direct its Clubs to prepare for an on-time start.
We do not make this decision lightly. Players know first-hand the efforts that were required to complete the abbreviated 2020 season, and we appreciate that significant challenges lie ahead. We look forward to promptly finalizing enhanced health and safety protocols that will help Players and Clubs meet these challenges.
The players did not make a counter offer. There are a lot of reasons for that, but it seems rather simple. According to Eugene Freedman, a national labor law lawyer, if the players made a counter offer then they have agreed to re-open the current collective bargaining agreement and that in turn makes it mandatory to renegotiate things, and if they can’t agree, that it would then give MLB the power to set the rules. He has tweeted about this many, many times, but he was doing so again last night and you can read his entire thread here if you’d like more details on it.
Simply put, the players are happy with the current collective bargaining agreement for this year and aren’t willing to make changes to it that aren’t going to overwhelmingly be in their favor. No one seems to believe that anything the players were offered by MLB was even slightly in their favor in this latest proposal. The players want to begin the season on time (for more than a few reasons). And with them not agreeing to the deal, the regular season – and spring training – are set to begin as scheduled.