Phillies: MLBPA proposes 114-game season with Oct. 31 finale

Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The MLBPA issued a 114-game season counterproposal to MLB on Sunday.

Philadelphia Phillies baseball being played at least through Halloween? That could become reality, if the Major League Baseball Players Association’s (MLBPA) counterproposal is accepted by the league.

On Sunday, the MLBPA submitted their first return-to-play proposal in which 114 games would be played, 32 more than the league’s 82-game proposal, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

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The 114-game season, that would run from June 30 through Oct. 31, is expected to be “immediately dismissed by the league,” according to Passan. Also, the MLBPA seeks:

  • Deferred salaries in case the postseason is canceled.
  • The option for all players to opt out of a potential 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns. Players with preexisting conditions or family members more susceptible to COVID-19 can opt-out while still receiving a salary. Players not deemed high risk could opt out, but would not receive a salary.
  • Expanded playoffs for two years; MLB’s proposal suggests one year of a postseason that goes from 10 teams to 14.
  • A salary advance of $100 million to split among players during the so-called “spring training 2.0” that leads up to the regular season.
  • Additional commitment to players wearing microphones on the field and other broadcast enhancements.
  • An offer to hold events such as an offseason All-Star Game or Home Run Derby to generate additional revenue.

MLBA included proposed deferred salaries to acknowledge potential owners’ cash-flow issues given the pandemic and other current events. Such deferrals would occur, according to Passan, if the postseason was canceled, “a concern the league has voiced, and would total $100 million.”

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They would apply to players “whose contracts call for $10 million-plus salaries and include interest to make them whole.”

The fact that the MLBPA submitted their proposal is a positive step toward an agreement being reached by both sides; the players rejected MLB’s plan and expect the league to likewise reject theirs, notes Passan, who writes:

“MLB has proposed an 82-game season and suggested that the more games teams play this year, the more money they lose. The union remains steadfast that players should receive their full prorated salaries, while MLB’s plan included significant pay cuts that affected the highest paid players the most but covered all levels.”

Nonetheless, MLBPA hopes their 114-game proposal serves as a “bridge” to a potential deal this week. Both sides understand that for a season to begin in early July, time is quickly running out.

Seeing any length of Phillies baseball in 2020 would be much enjoyed, as long as the health and safety of players, coaches and staff in attendance can be assured. While there is still a lot to work out, an agreement appears to be closer than ever.