Over the weekend talks between the owners and players over the shape of the 2020 season broke down. I broke all that down here. The short version: the players have told the owners that they’re done talking and that if the owners plan to unilaterally set a season then, pitter patter, they should get at ‘er.
To that end, the owners and Rob Manfred are reported to be having a conference call today to consider next steps. While it’s possible that a new proposal to the players comes out of it, it’s unlikely given that the owners are the ones who made the last offer. My guess is that a decision will come today to simply impose a season length pursuant to the March Agreement at the length of ownership’s choosing but with players receiving prorated pay.
A couple of weeks ago Jeff Passan of ESPN reported that such a season could be as short as 48 games, with the short duration a function of owners wanting to minimize their losses or maximize their gains, depending on your point of view. Jon Heyman is hearing that it might be a tad longer than that:
Mildly positive baseball news (very mild): If a season is mandated by the commissioner (as allowed by the March 26 agreement), it wouldn’t be for just 48 games. I hear the number of games would start with a 5
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 14, 2020
Given that the 2019 World Series champion Washington Nationals began the season 19-31 and, even after 60 games, stood at a mere 27-33, it’s unlikely that such a season will represent a true test of teams’ strengths in the way we normally understand it.
Then again, nothing else that has happened in 2020 has gone on the way that we normally understand it, so it’s probably among the least of our problems.