MLB Players Association Rejects MLB Proposal to Delay Season
After the Major League Baseball Players Association rejected a proposal by MLB to delay the start of the season, the league said it would start spring training and the regular season as scheduled.
A day of brusque, back-and-forth discussions between the league and the union, sources said, wound up as almost everyone involved expected: with no deal to push back the season, and with the February 17 spring training report date and April 1 Opening Day still intact.
MLB on Friday proposed a 154-game schedule that would pay the players for 162 games and pause their arrivals to camp until March 22 and the first games until April 28. The offer included expanding the playoffs from 10 to 14 teams and implementing the designated hitter in the National League. The union immediately balked, citing language in the proposal it believed would grant commissioner Rob Manfred more expansive powers to cancel games in the event of a potential COVID-19 outbreak.
How the fallout of the negotiations influences the ancillary issues remains to be seen. Star hitters Nelson Cruz and Marcell Ozuna remain free agents, and the lack of a universal DH almost certainly would push Cruz back to an American League team and hinder the market of Ozuna, who is seen as a defensive liability.