Major League Baseball’s team owners and players have made significant progress on a deal to return to play during the coronavirus pandemic after a lengthy dispute over compensation, according to multiple reports.
MLB submitted a new offer to players on Wednesday after earlier talks broke down amid disagreements on whether pay should be prorated or further reduced to the pandemic’s financial impact. The proposal came one day after MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred and MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark held productive talks in an effort to resolve the dispute.
MLB’s latest offer calls for a shortened 60-game season that would begin around July 19, FOX Sports reporter Ken Rosenthal and other outlets reported. The proposal includes full prorated pay for players based on their 2020 seasons and an expanded postseason for both 2020 and 2021.
“At my request, Tony Clark and I met for several hours yesterday in Phoenix," Manfred said in a statement. "We left that meeting with a jointly developed framework that we agreed could form the basis of an agreement and subject to conversations with our respective constituents. I summarized that framework numerous times in the meeting and sent Tony a written summary today. Consistent with our conversations yesterday, I am encouraging the Clubs to move forward and I trust Tony is doing the same.”
In addition, MLB is asking the players to waive any potential grievance filing over the terms of the restart.
Talks have yet to yield a final agreement and players are expected to make a counteroffer. The MLBPA said any reports that a tentative deal was already in place were “false.”
Negotiations had turned contentious in recent days, with each side accusing the other of failing to deal in good faith. The MLBPA rejected a plan last weekend that called for a 72-game season and 70 percent of prorated salaries for players.
The impasse led Manfred to declare earlier this week that he was “not confident” that a 2020 season would occur. The league has said it would lose $4 billion in revenue if the season is canceled.
A March 26 agreement between MLB and the players union granted Manfred the authority to mandate a 50-game season if necessary.
This story has been updated.