Major League Baseball players have reversed course — again — deciding not to vote on Sunday on the league’s 60-game proposal, as commissioner Rob Manfred made late tweaks to the offer, sources told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers.
Manfred sent an email to MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark offering to cancel expanded playoffs and the universal designated hitter for 2021 if a full season isn’t played in 2020.
“Tony, am writing to reiterate what I told you on the phone a few minutes ago,” Manfred said in the email, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press. “Given the Covid developments, I understand that the players are concerned that the 2020 season will be truncated beyond the agreed upon number of games (for example, we agree to play 60 and can only play 40). If that were to happen, I would be prepared to eliminate the 2021 components of the deal. That would mean that we would not get the expanded playoffs in 2021 and the DH rule would revert to the current rule (DH in AL, no DH in NL).”
Manfred’s email referred to another issue: termination pay for players released prior to Opening Day.
“I think I have previously agreed to give you full termination pay for players who were salary arbitration eligible in 2019, are on non guaranteed contracts and are terminated in spring training,” Manfred wrote. “Those players would get the numbers of days of termination pay equal to the number of games we agree to play, subject to the repayment of salary advances.”
On Saturday, the union’s executive board met and the players planned to delay voting on the proposal until they collected data on coronavirus testing after several outbreaks at training facilities and in major league cities, sources told ESPN.
But on Sunday morning, the players intended to vote, sources said, before reversing course again after Manfred’s letter.
All MLB training camps have temporarily closed after multiple teams reported positive tests Friday, a source confirmed to ESPN.
The MLBPA said Friday that the league would not counter the union’s proposal for a 70-game season.