The Major League Baseball Players Association executive board on Monday voted to reject MLB’s 60-game offer with expanded playoffs, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers, putting commissioner Rob Manfred in position to implement a schedule of his choosing — likely between 50 and 60 games.
The vote was 33-5 against, sources said. The MLBPA executive board is made up of 30 player representatives and an eight-member subcommittee.
The 60-game framework germinated from a meeting last week between Manfred and union executive director Tony Clark. After MLB rejected a 70-game proposal from the MLBPA, the league told the union that a negotiated agreement would follow the 60-game framework, which included expanded playoffs and a universal designated hitter.
Rather than accept the framework, the players shot it down and said in a statement that they expect Manfred to abide by their March 26 agreement, which allows the commissioner to set a schedule and guarantees the players fully prorated pay.
“The MLBPA Executive Board met multiple times in recent days to assess the status of our effort to resume the 2020 season,” the union’s statement said. “Earlier this evening, the full Board reaffirmed the players’ eagerness to return to work as soon and as safely as possible. To that end we anticipate finalizing a comprehensive set of health and safety protocols with Major League Baseball in the coming days, and we await word from the league on the resumption of spring training camps and a proposed 2020 schedule.
“While we had hoped to reach a revised back to work agreement with the league, the Players remain fully committed to proceeding under our current agreement and getting back on the field for the fans, for the game and for each other.”
A 75% yes vote among owners is required to pass whatever plan Manfred chooses to implement. It would require eight no votes to cancel the season altogether.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer, who has been vocal on the subject of restarting the season, tweeted in the aftermath of the vote: “it’s absolute death for this industry to keep acting as it has been. Both sides.
“We’re driving the bus straight off a cliff. How is this good for anyone involved? Covid 19 already presented a lose lose lose situation and we’ve somehow found a way to make it worse. Incredible.”
It’s absolute death for this industry to keep acting as it has been. Both sides. We’re driving the bus straight off a cliff. How is this good for anyone involved? Covid 19 already presented a lose lose lose situation and we’ve somehow found a way to make it worse. Incredible. 🤦🏻♂️
— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) June 22, 2020
By rejecting the proposal, the players retain their right to grieve the terms of the late March agreement between the two sides. After spring training was shut down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, the league and the players agreed that when play picked up, players would be paid on a prorated basis and would discuss the economic feasibility of playing without fans in the stands. The players’ association has maintained that discussion had nothing to do with their pay. That disagreement has led to weeks of acrimony between the sides.
The union’s executive board met Saturday and elected to delay its vote on the league’s latest proposal in order to collect new data regarding testing for COVID-19 after several recent outbreaks at training facilities in Florida and Arizona and in major league cities, sources told ESPN. All MLB training camps were temporarily closed after multiple teams reported positive tests on Friday, and the league announced Saturday that a restart of training would occur only in teams’ home cities. The players then delayed the vote again Sunday, sources said, after Manfred made late tweaks to the proposal, offering in an email to Clark to cancel expanded playoffs and the universal designated hitter for 2021 if a full season isn’t played in 2020.