Baseball is one step closer to starting a shortened season.
Major League Baseball owners on Monday, May 11, approved a proposal for a resumption of spring training and an 82-game regular season that now goes to the players union for approval, a major league source confirmed.
The plan, if approved, would restart spring training in June. In July, the league’s 30 teams would begin a shortened regular season against teams in their regions. For the Twins, that would mean about 82 games against the American League and National League Central divisions.
According to ESPN, league officials will present the plan to players union on Tuesday.
The plan includes expanding the playoffs from 10 to 14 teams, and the designated hitter would be in play for all teams in 2020, according to the Associated Press. The proposal aims to have all teams playing in their home stadiums pending the host state’s pandemic-related restrictions, without fans. In cases where that is not possible, spring training facilities — in the Twins’ case, their complex in Fort Myers, Fla. — could be in play.
Manfred has been speaking daily with health and government leaders and was scheduled to talk with Minnesota Governor Tim Walz on Monday evening.
The next step in the process, negotiating with the players union, is expected to be contentious, with player pay the major hurdle — although one player already has wondered aloud about player safety.
“There are a number of players & staff who have pre-existing conditions that they are aware of (and likely more who aren’t yet),” Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle wrote Monday as part of a Twitter thread. “We need a plan that seriously considers the increased health concerns of any players, staff or workers who are at higher risk.”
In March, the players union agreed to a $170 million lump sum payment to be divvied up between all MLB players whether there is a season or not, plus a pro-rated portion of their salaries should the season get underway. As part of the deal, players would earn a full season of service time even if the season is not played.
According to reports, owners will propose swapping that agreement in favor of a 50-50 revenue split with players because they would be losing large amounts of revenue with no fans in the stands.
Safety will be another important part of talks as the two sides try to move forward on a deal.
The proposal to start the 2020 Major League Baseball season approved by owners includes some one-season changes, according to multiple reports. Among them:
- An interleague regular-season schedule against teams in their region of the country.
- An 82-game regular season.
- A universal designated hitter.
- 30-man active rosters with a 20-player taxi squad
- Playoffs expanded from 10 to 14 teams with games played in home cities in Octover.
- A 50/50 revenue split for players and owners