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Coronavirus: Players counter MLB´s offer with 70-game proposal

June 19 2020 12:38 AM

Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) proposed a 70-game schedule to MLB league owners on Thursday as the two sides continue to work on an agreement for a shortened 2020 season. 

The counteroffer comes one day after MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and MLBPA executive director Tony Clark met face-to-face in Arizona, during which the league proposed a 60-game regular season with fully prorated salaries that would tentatively begin July 19. 

The MLB campaign was due to get underway in March but the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc in the United States and across the world.

"We delivered to Major League Baseball today a counterproposal based on a 70-game regular season which, among a number of issues, includes expanded playoffs for both 2020 and 2021," Clark said in a statement released by the MLBPA. "We believe this offer represents the basis for an agreement on resumption of play." 

While Wednesday's meeting still failed to produce a framework for a season, it did represent a sign of progress between two parties that have mostly been at odds since MLB shut down spring training and suspended the season in mid-March due to COVID-19.

The primary sticking point had been about money, with the union remaining steadfast that players receive a full prorated amount of their salaries and the owners reluctant to do so until finally relenting. 

The two sides are in agreement on several other items, such as an expanded postseason that may include up to 16 teams as well as the use of the designated hitter in both American and National League games.  

It is not clear, however, whether the owners would be amenable to an increase of regular-season games above the latest offer of 60 while still agreeing to pay fully prorated salaries.  

"In my discussions with Rob in Arizona, we explored a potential pro rata framework, but I made clear repeatedly in that meeting and after it that there were a number of significant issues with what he proposed, in particular the number of fames," Clark said.

"It is unequivocally false to suggest that any tentative agreement or other agreement was reached in that meeting. In fact, in conversations within the last 24 hours, Rob invited a counterproposal for more games that he would take back to the owners. We submitted that counterproposal today."

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