MLB Players Association Rejects League Offer, Demands Schedule Decision This Week

Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark is seen during a press conference before Game 3 of the Championship Round of the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Alex Trautwig/WBCI/MLB via Getty Images

After weeks of negotiations, the MLB Players Association is putting the burden of a restarted 2020 season on the league’s shoulders by demanding a final decision on the schedule. The MLBPA announced the decision on Twitter, via a statement by Executive Director Tony Clark:

In essence, the MLBPA is not going to offer more financial concessions to the league in exchange for a longer season, which is the players’ right. When the two sides agreed on a coronavirus pandemic plan back in March, the responsibility of organizing the schedule fell onto the league itself, and now the players are demanding that the league do just that so they can get back to playing.

While the schedule is the biggest hurdle to clear for a 2020 season, there are still other considerations that need to be agreed upon before baseball can return to action. The main one is that the league and the MLBPA have not agreed upon a health and safety code that would allow players to return to action while COVID-19 is still a pressing concern.

But with the definitive statement on Saturday night, the MLBPA has decided to shut down any negotiations on the financials — which the league had seen as good faith, while the players clearly have not — in favor of getting the ball rolling.

It will now be up to the MLB owners to decide how many games will be played this season, though ESPN sources said that not playing the most games possible could open the league up to a grievance, due to the March agreement that read that the league will use “best efforts to play as many games as possible, while taking into account player safety and health, rescheduling needs, competitive considerations, stadium availability, and the economic feasibility of various alternatives.”

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