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MLB News: League Proposes 154-Game Season With Delayed Start Date to the Union

It appears as though we are going to get a shorter season in 2021.



Up until now, it did not seem that MLB and the Player’s Union were at a place where fans could feel confident about the 2021 season. The two sides had reportedly disagreed about the concept of expanded playoffs and shortening the season just a week ago. The good news is, that appears to have changed. 

Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reported today that MLB has sent another proposal for the season over to the Union. That proposal suggests pushing the start date back a full month and extending the season one more week. Under that format, the league would only play 154 games rather than the normal 162. An expanded postseason is a part of that proposal, per the report. 

Under normal circumstances, the Union would probably decline MLB’s request right from the start. But it seems to be a little different this time, as the league is offering full pay as a part of the deal. The full payment has been a major sticking point for the Union as they try to get everything they can for the players after a shortened 2020 season. 

Pushing back the start date would allow MLB to start things up under presumably safer conditions. Spring Training officials already requested that the league push back the report date as Arizona and Florida both struggle with COVID-19 numbers. A large influx of players, media, and MLB workers in February certainly wouldn’t help that cause. 

Related: Cactus League Requests Delay of Spring Training in Arizona

Pushing back a month would mean that more people — namely players — have time to get vaccinated, and the hope is that the numbers would go down. It is not yet known if the Universal DH was included in the league’s proposal, but they were reported to be in on it should the players accept the extended playoffs. This could be the best-case scenario for all. 

UPDATE

MLB Network’s Jon Heyman added that the DH is included in the proposal. 

 

Pitchers and catchers are currently set to report to spring training in about two weeks, so there should be some urgency to these talks.

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. This continued bullying negotiations is exactly what takes away from MLB IMO! I have no use for Billionaires & Millionaires fighting like High School kids over things that simply make sense for the game, league & players! UNIVERSAL DH had to be a permanent part of MLB OR simply remove it from the sport entirely! It is a complete Farce to have it both ways! Pitchers cannot hit, cannot focus on hitting and its dangerous to have them hit period. As for Covid, it’s been a political weapon from day one and has almost not been any factor at all to pro athletes, kids or healthy people of all ages! MLB is guilty of misinformation completely and the working stiffs continue to suffer the most. The elite are unaffected!

    • Excellent post here!! I couldn’t agree more as to whats going on here. Teams do not need to risk further injury to those front line pitchers who are already making in excess of $ 20 million a year!.

  2. Hard to imagine this proposal being turned down, so we’ll get the DH [great], expanded playoffs [hopefully a better format with division winners getting a first round bye], lose 8 games [can live with that], and a month delay in getting started [sigh, but ok]. Not sure if it changes much relative to the covid situation, it buys a little time, but doubt it will will be much better than last season for quite some time.

  3. The NL DH will probably happen, but I hate it. Covid was used by the players union as an excuse to increase player participation and overall salaries. It had nothing to do with improving the game. It was all about money And since Manfred is the players union’s chump, he went along with it. The NL has been around since 1876 without the DH. That’s 144 years. It seemed to work OK. But suddenly Covid gave an endlessly greedy players union an opportunity to line their pockets. That’s not a good enough reason for me. I realize that I’m in the minority here. But that’s OK. I’m one those old fashioned guys who who think if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

    • You are certainly entitled to your preference, but for 144 years, pitchers weren’t throwing 100MPH+, nor were they, as in some cases now, involving 100 million dollar+ investments. Outside the safety factor, I don’t see the DH as a product of greed, but an improvement in the quality of the game. I want to see Lux and Rios hit, not Lux walked intentionally, so I can watch Kershaw haplessly try and hit Gerrit Cole. Intentionally implementing an exploitable weakness in the name of “strategy” is lame from my point of view.

  4. Dodger106W, I can respect where you’re thoughts are here as far as the DH, but I have a problem with MLB having been played with separate set of rules for each league and if I got it correct, no other major sports has different rules such as those for the NFL, NBA, NHL et al. This has been going on that kind of leaves the NL at a somewhat disadvantage with the AL, by tem having had the DH since 1973. To be fair, if it’s not allowed in the NL then the AL shouldn’t have it either in order to have an equal playing field. Again, my guess is that teams and managers don’t care for the pitchers having to bat what with the hefty price tags the front line pitchers have. Risk of injury now is more since pitchers haven’t batted for Year now. IDK but the DH helped the Dodgers out big time in 2020 with how it allowed Roberts to set his lineups up.

  5. Nothings going to have changed once we get to whatever new start date, so it’s all going to have been for nothing just like last year in the end all they did was have no fans in the stands, they could’ve started that in April instead of late July.

  6. The DH would solve the yearly problem of having guys who deserve more AB’s waste away in a platoon or bench role. Not to mention all the guys on the farm who would’ve gotten their chance by now but haven’t even made it up

    • For one thing, if we didn’t have the DH last year. Will Smith would have been on bench and not in starting lineup whenever Barnes was catching. Not only that, but without the DH last year Barnes would have batted 8th in front of the pitcher and probably would not have had the year he had with the improvement offensively. The reason was that Barnes was batting 9th with Betts the lead off man hitting behind him instead of the pitcher. He thus got better pitches to hit.

  7. And pitchers use to pitch 20+ complete games a season. The starters pitched every 4 days. Sometimes they kept pitching into extra innings, while the bullpen sat watching. If you like watching pitchers bat, make yourself a highlight reel of pitchers batting.

    • One other thing I recall with the Dodgers before 2020 was that Roberts did a lot of double switching, having the need to use a PH in the pitcher’s spot if a potential run scoring rally was taking place. RISP with the pitcher due up meant that often times Roberts would use up his bench by the 7th inning. Having a DH effectively eliminated that need for using up the bench prematurely.

  8. Spring training and the regular season will start on time and there will be 162 games. The players’ union rejected the proposed changes with no counter-offer. The expanded playoffs are probably toast as well, but nothing more on the DH. The feeling was that it was too late to make changes. The players are against expanded playoffs because they are afraid it would cause owners not to spend as much if it was easy to make the playoffs.

  9. I’m not surprised Dodgers brass are dragging their a**. Friedman needs to be replaced. Sign Turner, give him what he wants, after all, he given his all since he came to LA. At least compromise, Turner wants 4 years, Dodgers want to give him 2, so how about offering him 3 years

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