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 unilaterally implement a schedule of his choosing — likely between 50 to 60 games.
The vote was 33-5 against, sources said.
“The MLBPA Executive Board met multiple times in recent days to assess the status of our effort to resume the 2020 season,” the union said in a statement. “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.”
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 due to the coronavirus pandemic in March, the league and the players agreed that when play picked up again, players would be paid on a prorated basis but also that they would discuss the economic feasibility of playing without fans in the stands. The players’ association says that discussion has nothing to do with their pay. That disagreement has led to weeks of acrimony between the sides.
The players union had initially 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 spring training would only occur in team’s home cities. The players then delayed the vote again after Manfred made late tweaks to the proposal, offering in an email to MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark to cancel expanded playoffs and the universal designated hitter for 2021 if a full season isn’t played in 2020.