Report: MLB, MLBPA reach agreement on contract options, bonuses

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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that MLB and the MLBPA have reached an agreement as to how contract options and bonuses would be handled in the shortened 2020 season.

Vesting options: These options for the 2021 season will vest at the full amount. The thresholds for which those options will vest will be prorated. Rosenthal uses the example of Andrew Miller originally needing to pitch 37 games in 2020 for his ’21 option to vest, but he will now need to pitch in 14 games.

Bonuses: Bonuses, both roster and playing time, will be prorated and paid at prorated amounts. Postseason bonuses will be paid in full. Rosenthal adds that days spent on the COVID-19 injured list will count towards towards the days a player accrues towards a roster bonus.

MLB and the MLBPA couldn’t come to terms on a new agreement to the one arrived upon in March, so commissioner Rob Manfred enacted a 60-game season on June 22. The two sides reached an agreement on health and safety protocols and put some of the less crucial stuff — like how to handle vesting options and bonuses — on the back burner. It’s good to see they have addressed that issue before the start of the regular season on July 23.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.