Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that Major League Baseball and the MLBPA have reached a tentative agreement in which all players who remain active throughout the coming season, whatever its length, will receive a full year of service time.
There is not an agreement about how much service time the players would receive if the pandemic leads to the cancellation of the entire season. Rosenthal says that, “both sides desire to play as many games as possible in 2020,” and that they have tabled discussion of what to do in case no games are played.” Hoping for the best, it seems.
The sides continue to talk about what to do about money. As we discussed last week, the uniform player contract, which contains all of the boilerplate applicable to every player, specifically allows teams to suspend contracts during a “national emergency.” Rosenthal says that the league, however, has not taken that aggressive a stance, and at one point offered a lump-sum advance of around $150 million to be paid to players on 40-man rosters, which breaks down to something north of $125,000 per player. The league’s proposal provides that players would keep their advance money even if the season resumes, but the league wants an agreement from players that they would not come back and sue for their full salaries later. As he said, talks continue.
There is still no word about a possible schedule. The league is following CDC recommendations that advise against gatherings of 50 or more people before May 10. Some sources inside baseball have said that it would take about a month for the league to gear back up to being game-ready, so the earliest one can imagine games taking place is mid-June. Rosenthal says that, in light of that, players and owners are discussing are talking about scheduled doubleheaders, the reduction of days off, and the extension of the regular season past its currently-scheduled final day of September 27.