On what should have been baseball’s Opening Day, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association reached a deal about how to handle labor issues related to the delayed MLB season.
As part of the agreement, teams will advance $170 million in salary payments to the players and that money does not have to be returned if the 2020 MLB season is canceled. But, if the season does get canceled, players will not challenge the loss of the portion of their salaries that were not covered by the advance.
Another key agreement from the deal has to do with service time. If there are no games this year or a partial season is played, anyone currently on a 40-man roster, the 60-day injured list or an outright assignment to the minor leagues with a major league contract will receive service time for 2020 equaling what the player accrued in 2019.
That means players with one year remaining on their contract — like Mookie Betts, Trevor Bauer, Marcus Stroman and George Springer — will be eligible for free agency whether there are any games in 2020 or not.
Now that the deal has been reached, the next step is to get players back to camp so they begin a second spring training. In a best-case scenario for baseball, camps would resume in early May and the season would start sometime in early June.
Both the league and union are hopeful that can happen and agreed to make a “good faith effort” to schedule as many games as possible this year. They also agreed to extend the postseason past early November, even if that means using neutral sites and playing in domes.
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