Major League Baseball Owners Reportedly Told Players’ Union That Season Negotiations Are Over

Balls are prepared for a Major League Baseball season opener
Doug Pensinger / Getty Images

It appears the Major League Baseball ownership group is through talking about how long the 2020 season is going to be. The MLB Players Association announced via a press release on Twitter on Friday that they received notice from the owners that there will be no more negotiations about the length of the campaign, or how much money the players will receive for playing out the season.

“MLB has informed the Association that it will not respond to our latest proposal and will not play more than 60 games,” the official statement said. “Our executive board will convene in the near future in order to determine [the] next steps. Importantly, players remain committed to getting back to work as soon as possible.”

The announcement is the latest in what has been a flurry of back-and-forth statements through social media. It comes less than one week after the last time one side announced there would be no more talks. Last weekend, the MLBPA said that any further negotiations were a waste of time. They then issued a statement telling the owners to let them know “when and where” to play.

Two days later, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and MLBPA President Tony Clark met in a one-on-one meeting and came up with a “framework” of a deal. That proposal included a 60-game regular season and full pro-rated salaries for the players.

Earlier this week, the players’ union offered a counter-proposal to the framework, asking for a 70-game season. On Thursday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that at least three of the MLB owners were incensed at the counter-proposal. At the same time, those around the league believed MLB would submit yet another offer and that it would be somewhere in the middle of the two proposed season lengths.

After news of the MLBPA’s newest offer, Manfred expressed his frustration over the stalemate.

“This needs to be over,” the commissioner said. “Until I speak with the owners, I can’t give you a firm deadline.”

If negotiations have officially ended, the league can go one of two different ways. The commissioner can mandate a season for as long as the owners desire. Several MLB analysts believe the league doesn’t want longer than a 48-game campaign, especially if fans won’t be allowed in the stands. It’s expected as well that if the league mandates such a season, the MLBPA will file a grievance. Analysts are also of the opinion that a mandate of this kind will cause problems when the two sides are negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement. The current CBA expires in 2021.