MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred (right) with Reds owner Bob Castellini prior to Thursday’s Opening Day game at Great American Ball Park. David Jablonski/STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

MLB players reject latest proposal by owners and say: ‘It’s time to get back to work’

Tony Clark: ‘Further dialogue with the league would be futile’

Major League Baseball released a statement late Saturday night after the Major League Baseball Players Association rejected its latest proposal for the 2020 season.

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According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the players will not counter the proposal and asked the owners to inform the players of how many games they will play and when they should report to training camp.

“We are disappointed that the MLBPA has chosen not to negotiate in good faith over resumption of play after MLB has made three successive proposals that would provide players, Clubs and our fans with an amicable resolution to a very difficult situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement read. “The MLBPA understands that the agreement reached on March 26th was premised on the parties’ mutual understanding that the players would be paid their full salaries only if play resumed in front of fans, and that another negotiation was to take place if Clubs could not generate the billions of dollars of ticket revenue required to pay players. The MLBPA’s position that players are entitled to virtually all the revenue from a 2020 season played without fans is not fair to the thousands of other baseball employees that Clubs and our office are supporting financially during this very difficult 2020 season. We will evaluate the Union’s refusal to adhere to the terms of the March Agreement, and after consulting with ownership, determine the best course to bring baseball back to our fans.”

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ESPN’s Karl Ravech reported the latest proposal by the owners called for a season of “roughly 70 games.” That came after the players proposed an 89-game season. The sides have gone back and forth all spring about the length of the season and how much players will get paid, though despite the uncertainty, Commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN last week he’s 100 percent sure there will be a season.

Earlier Saturday evening, the head of the players association, Tony Clark, released his own statement on the situation:

“Players want to play,” Clark said, “It’s who we are and what we do.

“Since March, the Association has made it clear that our No.1 focus is playing the fullest season possible, as soon as possible, as safely as possible. Players agreed to billions in monetary concessions as a means to that end, and in the face of repeated media leaks and misdirection we made additional proposals to inject new revenues into the industry – proposals that would benefit the owners, players, broadcast partners, and fans alike. 

“It’s now become apparent that these efforts have fallen upon deaf ears. In recent days, owners have decried the supposed unprofitability of owning a baseball team and the Commissioner has repeatedly threatened to schedule a dramatically shortened season unless players agree to hundreds of millions in further concessions. Our response has been consistent that such concessions are unwarranted, would be fundamentally unfair to players, and that our sport deserves the fullest 2020 season possible. These remain our positions today, particularly in light of new reports regarding MLB’s national television rights — information we requested from the league weeks ago but were never provided. 

“As a result, it unfortunately appears that further dialogue with the league would be futile. It’s time to get back to work. Tell us when and where.”

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