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Report: MLB And Its Players Are Close To A Plan For 2020 Including Prorated Pay And Expanded Playoffs

At long last, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association appear to be actively negotiating a deal for the 2020 season that will reportedly include prorated pay for the athletes and an expanded playoff format that will include more teams.

Reporting from Jon Heyman of MLB Network indicated that commissioner Rob Manfred flew directly to Arizona, where union chief Tony Clark lives, to meet face-to-face with Clark this week. That meeting seemingly allowed each side to get closer to this deal, with the players seemingly nagging two big concessions from the league in prorated pay and the expanded playoffs.

The precise number of games remains to be seen, but outspoken Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer put out a lengthy Twitter thread this week indicating the league could fit more than 70 games in if things moved quickly. On the other hand, MLB has repeatedly put forth offers in the neighborhood of a 50-game season. How an agreement on full prorated pay, which the league had been hesitant to include, changes this math remains to be seen, but it seems the union’s major concession was to waive any grievance against the league.

Expanded playoffs had garnered a general consensus during these negotiations as a way of earning back revenue by putting more high-stakes games on TV. Especially with a shorter season, it’s also a way to ensure high-profile, talented teams don’t miss the playoffs by way of a cold spell at the wrong time.

Despite these concessions, there was quickly pushback on Heyman’s reporting that the deal was close, with indications that it’s more that these are the first serious negotiations, not just posturing, that the two sides have done.

As has been the case for weeks, it seems the talks remain fluid, but there is at least some optimism now that the two sides are negotiating in person.