Late Sunday night, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that the MLB Players Association delivered a return-to-play proposal to owners that included a 114-game season, players having the option to opt out of returning to clubs during the coronavirus pandemic and deferred salaries.
Owners offered an interesting response on Monday.
During an ESPN "SportsCenter" segment, Passan explained that owners are willing to pay prorated salaries for a pandemic-shortened season that lasts around 50 to 60 regular season games:
Major League Baseball intends to propose a shorter season in which they would pay players a full prorated share of their salaries, sources told ESPN. The league believes the late March agreement allows it to set the schedule, and that this would fulfill players’ pro rata desire.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 1, 2020
The potential season Major League Baseball envisions would run somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 regular-season games, sources told ESPN. The exact number is being considered, but the aim would be to return in July. It would be less than half of players’ proposed season length.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 1, 2020
It's long been believed MLB targeted a season start for around July 4, but ongoing negotiations likely have pushed that date back. If owners and the MLBPA could come to terms on an agreement this week, however, spring training 2.0 finishing before the weekend of July 18 becomes a realistic possibility.
Last week, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman claimed MLB wanted spring training practices to resume on June 10.
Talks between owners and players seemingly hit a standstill heading into the final weekend of May regarding a March agreement between the two parties that involved owners paying prorated salaries for a shortened season. Owners contend that deal was contingent on fans attending games.
It's believed the start of the season will feature games played without spectators. While Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has declared ballparks in the state can be filled up to 25 percent capacity for professional sporting events, it's not yet known if the players will accept performing in front of audiences during the uncontrolled virus outbreak or if other MLB states will follow in Texas' footsteps before July.
You'll receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams.
Emailed daily. Always FREE!