Quite possibly the bleakest day in a very bleak year arrived for Major League Baseball on Monday, as commissioner Rob Manfred said he was no longer 100 percent sure there would be a season in 2020, lashing out at the players after they cut off financial negotiations over the weekend.
“It’s time to get back to work,” union chief Tony Clark said in a statement Saturday. “Tell us when and where.”
After months of public back and forth between league and union, MLB has decided to take the position that it won’t allow a season unless the MLBPA agrees to not file a grievance against the owners for not, in good faith, attempting “to play as many games as possible,” as outlined in a March agreement between the two sides. The union is unlikely to waive that right.
The MLBPA had previously said it was willing to play as many games as the league wished with full prorated salaries outlined in the March deal. MLB has at least informally introduced the idea of a 50-game season at full salaries, so it was clear the league could afford at least that for the season.
But, no. MLB instead decided to effectively break off talks with a demand it has to know will be a non-starter, and here we are. The commissioner of baseball now says he isn’t sure there will be a season less than a week after saying he was 100 percent sure.
As you can imagine, a number of players have thoughts on the situation.
MLB players react to league’s latest move
These so called “negotiations” (or lack there of) have been sooo slimy, tone deaf, greedy, lying, leaking, and overall out of touch. This is not even close to what you dream of as a kid! Sorry to everyone for this playing out through the media during a pandemic. Brutal.— Jameson Taillon (@JTaillon19) June 15, 2020
Wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww— Eireann Dolan (@EireannDolan) June 15, 2020
One unnamed person on the player side of the game had a word to sum up the situation to FiveThirtyEight’s Travis Sawchik: “Bats---.”
Trevor Bauer is suspicious
In between the profanities and emojis, one outspoken player tried to read between the lines of the last week and see what MLB’s play here is.
As Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer broke down, he believes that the timeline of Manfred proclaiming there would 100 percent be a season, the players asking the league how many games to play and the league shutting things down means this is simply a stall tactic.
isn’t it Rob? Because then you’d have to explain why you’re only going to impose 50 games when we could easily play 70+ right now. The tactic is to bluff with “no season” again and delay another 2-3 weeks until you clear the risk of “not negotiating in good faith by trying to— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) June 15, 2020
obvious to everyone what you were trying to do. And no one would think that was a “representative season” so you’d risk not getting your precious playoff money. Nope, can’t have that. So gotta make it more than that. But not too many...you’ve gone as high as about 55 games full— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) June 15, 2020
Be at least 4 off days in there...so that’s 64 days. Plus about 20 for spring training...84 days. Sept 27-84 days is July 5. Plus about a week to get players to spring training. So tack on another 7, that takes us to June 28. As I have it figured, that’s your deadline. But today— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) June 15, 2020
You’re holding a losing hand. Unfortunately, it’s a losing hand for everyone involved, not just you. There’s some saying out there about not killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. Check it out on the ole google machine. It’s worth knowing.— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) June 15, 2020
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard a similar theory from a player-side person within the game.
One player side person said Manfred’s suggestion tonight is all part of a long-running stall. Not sure about that but this is definitely dragging on needlessly.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 15, 2020
And Brewers star Christian Yelich also found it persuasive.
If you’re a baseball fan and really want to know what’s going on. Look no further 👇🏻 https://t.co/2EvsVs0aPP— Christian Yelich (@ChristianYelich) June 15, 2020
It’s a pretty believable theory.
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