Rob Manfred was bullish on the league and players’ union reaching an agreement to restart the 2020 season when he spoke with ESPN Wednesday afternoon, which is a small but significant change from the bullshit he and the owners have been spewing to this point. Manfred told Karl Ravech he is “100%” certain there will be a season, citing a “responsive proposal” to counter the MLBPA’s most recent offer.
What exactly that entails we won’t know for a little while yet, but I’d like to think 75 games at full prorated pay gets it done. Then again, Manfred said the league hopes players will “come off” their demand for full per-game salaries. The owners look worse the longer it goes and the more the members of their ranks lament the unprofitable organizations they toil over, so they may finally be coming around to the idea that being slightly less profitable this season will be worth it in the end.
Despite initial comments from the ownership side that the players have done nothing to move toward the middle, it’s the owners who’ve remained steadfast in their crappy proposals. The internal mechanisms of each proposal have been different, but just a little cocktail-napkin math reveals almost identical payroll targets in each. That could change with their next offer, which Manfred said is “another significant move in the players’ direction in terms of the salary that has kept us apart.”
Maybe he should’ve removed the “nother” from that one since there haven’t been any moves in the players’ direction yet. Well, other than the removal of qualifying offers and the subsequent draft-pick compensation tied to them, which might be worth as much as $100 million to the players down the road. Expanded playoffs would be worth far more than that to the league, which is why the players have included that wrinkle in their proposals. And for the next two years, no less.
We’ll see how truthful Manfred’s being about the responsiveness of the proposal soon enough, but I do agree with his thoughts on the season. Even if it comes down to him making a final ruling on the length of the season, I believe it’ll end up happening in some form.