Manfred, Clark have 'productive' meeting about Major League Baseball season

Baseball

In an otherwise empty ballpark grounds crew members continue to keep the Seattle Mariners' field in playing shape. AP

Some Major League owners are content to end the year without a baseball season. Manfred earlier had said Clark was negotiating in bad faith by threatening to file a grievance if Manfred were to impose a start time and season length, which he has the power to do per a March 26 agreement between the sides.

"The baseball owners who have made billions and been given sweetheart leases and absurd tax breaks and the legal freedom to run a monopoly are unwilling to give back even a little to their communities and support the very game they represent".

The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and ESPN's Jeff Passan reported the proposal includes a 60-game season starting July 19 or 20 with an expanded postseason and players receiving full prorated salaries.

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In order to do that, however, Manfred needs 75 percent of owners to approve the plan. "Unfortunately, I can't tell you that I'm 100 percent certain that's going to happen".

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said in a statement that Manfred's comments were another instance of him negotiating in bad faith. "This has always been about extracting additional pay cuts from Players and this is just another day and another bad faith tactic in their ongoing campaign". The owners want further pay cuts because fans won't be able to attend. If all else fails, Manfred and the owners could offer prorated salaries at a number of games that's comfortable to the bottom line - which would get us a season that's potentially fewer than 50 games.

"Players are disgusted that after Rob Manfred unequivocally told players and fans that there would "100 percent" be a 2020 season, he has chose to go back on his word and is now threatening to cancel the entire season", Clark said.

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Among the most outspoken Major League Baseball players was Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer, who questioned Manfred's motivation and suggested he was stalling to force a shortened season upon the players. On Tuesday, New York Yankees president Randy Levine, who previously had insisted that the agreement required players to discount their salaries, said: "Under the March 26 agreement, the commissioner has the right to schedule the games as long as the players are paid pro rata".

Manfred told ESPN on Monday he now is "not confident" a season will be played, citing union intransigence.

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