MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and MLBPA head Tony Clark are having face to face meetings in Arizona, per multiple reports. Indications are that they met last night, and are meeting again today (perhaps right now).
Jon Heyman tweets that the meeting is “being called productive,” and we can only hope that this will help break the logjam between the players and owners over the 2020 season getting underway.
The players and owners exchanged proposals, with the key issue in dispute being that the players want to play as many games as possible at their full salaries (though on a pro-rated basis), while the owners are wanting the players to take additional reductions to their salaries, and play a shorter season.
The last offer from owners was responded to by the players with a declaration that they would not be making a counter-proposal, and that the Commissioner should simply go forward with his threat to implement a schedule unilaterally. He is allowed to do that under the March agreement reached by the players and owners, and players will receive their full pro-rated salaries for however long the season is.
However, because the March agreement requires the Commissioner, should he invoke that option, to schedule as many games as reasonably possible, the players will file a grievance if there is a schedule of 48-54 games (as has been rumored to be the case, should Manfred set the schedule). The owners earlier this week sent the players a letter saying they would not start the season without the players agreeing to waive any right to seek legal recourse against the owners, and Manfred publicly indicated that he might simply cancel the season altogether if players wouldn’t agree.
The public backlash to that statement from Manfred has been long and loud. Hopefully, Manfred and Clark getting together will result in a negotiated settlement in the very near future.
UPDATE — Per Jon Heyman, the union and MLB are “closing in on an agreement” for 2020 with full pro-rated pay and expanded playoffs!!!!
UPDATE II — Other reports are saying that there isn’t an agreement yet, but that a new offer has been sent, and there seems to be from all the reports a general sense of optimism that there is progress being made.
UPDATE III — Per Ken Rosenthal, the proposal is 60 games in 70 days at full pro-ration, with expanded playoffs this year and next year and the waiving of a grievance.
My guess is that the negotiations now will be the number of games (the players will want more than 60) and fine-tuning some details.