Over the weekend, we learned that the Major League Baseball Players Association would vote on Sunday whether or not to accept MLB’s latest proposal — or “framework” — for a 60-game 2020 regular season. The two sides were arguably as far apart as they have been throughout this entire process following a recent meeting between commissioner Rob Manfred and MLBPA executive director Tony Clark that resulted in Clark upset with the “proposal” and Manfred flummoxed that they didn’t have a deal in place.
A wrench got thrown into everyone’s plans, however, as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) hit several spring training facilities belonging to the Phillies and Blue Jays in Florida. The Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL closed their stadium amid an outbreak, and the Clemson University football team was also hit particularly hard. MLB closed down all of the spring training facilities for a deep cleaning and disinfecting.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the MLBPA did not vote on Sunday, Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports. The union is instead continuing to use the time to gather more information regarding health and safety protocols.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Manfred sent a letter to Clark today offering to cancel expanded playoffs and the universal DH for the 2021 season if a full season isn’t played this year. The universal DH in particular was seen as a concession on the part of ownership towards the union. Ownership has been pushing for a shorter regular season but expanded playoffs during the pandemic.