June 22, 2020 / 7:31 PM / 24 days ago

Decision on MLB season could occur Monday

A Major League Baseball season could be on the verge of becoming a reality.

FILE PHOTO: A baseball ready for export is pictured at the Rawlings factory in Turrialba, Costa Rica March 3, 2010. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate/File Photo

Either by vote or because it was implemented by commissioner Rob Manfred.

Last-ditch attempts for MLB and the MLB Players Association to reach an agreement were sought on Monday as the window to hold a season continues to close.

“Everything appears to be coming to a head today: #MLB and the #MLBPA are trying to see if they can reach a last-minute agreement on a 60-game season this afternoon or Commissioner Rob Manfred will implement a 54-60 game season,” USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweeted.

ESPN’s Buster Olney was of a similar opinion.

“We are down to the last hours before possible implementation of a short season by MLB/Manfred, and behind the scenes, there are efforts being made to circumvent implementation. Last-minute attempt at haggling,” Olney tweeted.

MLB analyst Jim Bowden, a former major league general manager, said an MLBPA vote will take place at 5 p.m. ET.

Tweeted Bowden: “38-member exec board will vote on MLB latest proposal of a 60 game season. Players union should do right thing and accept and get baseball back on the field for a late July opening day. If they reject, owners don’t have to implement. They can keep negotiating w less (games).”

According to Bowden, the proposal being voted on will not guarantee salaries if the games aren’t played.

The vote was initially reported to be held Sunday but a large number of positive COVID-19 tests was the main reason for the delay.

Citing two sources close to the situation, Nightengale reported that 40 MLB players and staff members tested positive in the last week. Nightengale added that Manfred and MLBPA executive director Tony Clark exchanged emails with “tweaks” to their proposals.

According to Nightengale, the recent uptick in COVID-19 infections will push the start of the season back to July 26 at the earliest, with spring training resuming no earlier than June 29.

On Sunday, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Manfred wrote a letter to Clark offering to cancel expanded playoffs and the universal designated hitter for 2021 (the owners’ latest proposal had those elements in place for 2020 and ‘21). But, Passan added, “Players are concerned about giving up leverage of playoffs for naught.”

Nightengale reported Manfred also promised that players on non-guaranteed contracts who were arbitration-eligible in 2019 but released during spring training would receive full termination pay.

The season was scheduled to start March 26, but the coronavirus pandemic led to the delay that has lasted nearly three months so far.

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