Report: As MLB readies plan for players, pay still an issue

With teams reportedly preparing to resume workouts sometime in June and no shortage of reports on how Major League Baseball plans to play the 2020 season, the commissioner's office is reportedly close to giving to the players union its official proposal for how the season will be conducted.

But that could create new problems.

Speaking on MLB Network on Friday, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal said that commissioner Rob Manfred's office is supposed to give some sort of proposal to the union next week, but he added that several hurdles could still remain.

"We are expecting that salary is going to be an issue," Rosenthal told MLB Network's Kevin Burkhardt. "Players already have agreed to prorate their salaries in a shortened season. So in an 81-game season they'll get half their salary. ... But, with no fans, the owners, from what I understand, believe they are going to need to ask the players to take a further cut, and that obviously could cause friction."

On Thursday, The Athletic's Evan Drelich reported that the owners are exploring a possible revenue-sharing agreement with the players because of the lack of in-park revenue, going so far as to say that the league would spend more money on players than they would earn in revenue for games played with no fans.

The news comes days after MLB Players Association director Tony Clark told ESPN that despite all of the reported possibilities for how the season would be structured, players had yet to see a formal plan.

"We want to play. As players, we want to play," Clark said. "As these ideas find their way into mainstream media, there are some ideas that seem to make sense, there are others that don't track very well. All of them are being viewed against the backdrop of getting back on the field and affording our guys an opportunity to do what they love to do. ...

"Despite all that has been floated and all the rhetoric that is out there, we have not received anything formal that details an actual plan."

And once a plan is chosen, Rosenthal reported, MLB will have to make room in the schedule for further flexibility should, for instance, a player contract COVID-19 or there is a spike in the virus in a host city.

Among the reported possibilities is having teams play games at or near spring training facilities in Arizona and/or Florida, with Texas also mentioned as a potential neutral site. Other reports have teams playing games at their home stadiums, but with divisions restructured on a regional basis to limit the need for travel. All plans reported thus far include no fans in attendance and the regular season being shorter than 162 games.

Also on Friday, multiple media outlets reported that the MLB draft this year will be only five rounds and will begin June 10.

The MLB regular season was scheduled to begin March 26, but spring training was halted March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Opening Day postponed to mid-April. On March 16, the start of the season was pushed back indefinitely.

--Field Level Media