Major League Baseball and the players association have officially ratified an agreement regarding several issues surrounding a potentially shortened or canceled season, Yahoo Sports’ Hannah Keyser confirmed on Friday.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan first reported the deal Thursday night.
MLB owners have agreed to advance players portions of salaries to be spread out over April and May. If there is no season, that money will be kept by the players. Each of the 30 teams will contribute just short of $95,000 per day to eligible players for 60 days or until start of 2020 season, not to exceed $170 million. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal adds that salaries will be pro-rated based on length of season, and players have agreed not to sue for full salaries.
As previously reported, the players would accrue a full year of service time if they are active for the shortened season. If the season is canceled, players would gain the same amount of service time they accrued in 2019, which is important because it means players like Mookie Betts or Trevor Bauer would become free agents as scheduled.
The players approved the proposal in a vote held Thursday, which was originally scheduled to be opening day for the 2020 season. The agreement was ratified by the owners on Friday.
Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have a deal, sources tell ESPN. The players have voted on it already. MLB owners are expected to ratify it tomorrow. An excellent sign that draws a path forward as baseball tries to figure out when it will return.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 27, 2020
The two sides had been negotiating about several issues. In addition to pay and service time, Passan reports they have agreed to provisions regarding when it will be considered safe to continue the season. The clear preference is to have fans in the stands in at all possible.
* The caveat agreed to by the players and league is that they will consider playing games at neutral sites instead of home ballparks -- and will consider the feasibility of playing in empty stadiums and just how proper a solution it may be for both sides and especially fans.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 27, 2020
An unconfirmed report from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale suggests rosters could be expanded from 26 players to 29 for the first month after the season returns. With less off days and an increase in doubleheaders expected, that would keep managers from overusing pitchers.
Another issue is the amateur draft.
Previous reports suggested MLB could look to cancel the June draft and international signing period as a cost-cutting measure amid the coronavirus shutdown. That will not be the case, but both methods of bringing amateur talent into organizations could look vastly different.
In the deal, MLB has the right to shorten the 2020 draft to five rounds, sources tell ESPN. Additionally, it can delay the start of the international signing period to as late as January 2021.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 27, 2020
MLB also can shorten the 2021 draft to 20 rounds, and push back the 2021-22 international signing period to January 2022 through December 2022, per sources.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 27, 2020
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