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.
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.
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman added that the DH is included in the proposal.
MLB proposed Friday a 154-game season with full pay (100 percent, like it’s 162 games), delayed by a month. Offer includes expanded playoffs and a DH. Union is deliberating @TBrownYahoo 1st
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 31, 2021
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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