Players to Vote Monday Afternoon on 60-Game Season

Fasten those seat belts because this feels like it could be a turning point.

After several shifts in their timeline over the weekend, and one more Monday morning, the MLB Players Association has scheduled a virtual meeting for Monday afternoon to vote on the season. That information comes via ESPN’s Enrique Rojas, who had first tweeted at 11:06am ET that a call was set to begin “in a few minutes.” He updated that shortly thereafter.

The decision will be made by a group of 38 players, eight from the executive board and a rep from each team, and it was first anticipated that they would turn down the offer and force MLB to institute a season. There were, however, some late developments that caused the players to delay what should have been a Sunday vote, so who knows.

After initially planning to convene Saturday, the players delayed in order to gather more health and safety information in light of a slew of positive COVID tests across multiple organizations. But once they realized it would take too long to get said info, they pressed forward with the plan to vote. Then commissioner Rob Manfred extended an olive branch of sorts and the vote was postponed again.

At the heart of the players’ decision is a commitment to the highest levels of precaution when it comes to health and safety. After that, of course, comes the financial piece. Though the union conceded to expanded playoffs and ad sales on jerseys, the owners didn’t budge on the length of the season. Not that they could do much at this point, since it’d be impossible to fit 70 games in the 66-day window left available.

As such, the league has offered to suspend any new measures — universal DH, expanded playoffs, etc — for 2021 if the 2020 season is cut to less than the agreed-upon length. While that doesn’t put more money in players’ pockets, it prevents owners from reaping what would have been even more disproportionate revenues than usual next season.

We should know more on this by Monday evening at the very latest.

Update: Additional dialogue between the two sides has pushed the call back to 5pm ET.

Update #2: Buster Olney tweeted that there is a “Last-minute attempt at haggling” as decision time draws nigh.

At the same time, the league has said there will be no additional funds added to the proposed $25 million playoff pool and that the qualifying offer will not be modified. The number of games is likewise non-negotiable, nor will the league forgive more than $33 million of the $170 million advance paid to players early in the shutdown. So, uh, what exactly is there left to haggle over?

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