Per Bob Nightengale, MLB owners have approved an agreement for the 2020 season in full today.
The goal is for the season to go into November with at least 100 games played with the season starting either June 1st or at the latest July 1st. Regular season games would take place through October and weekly double-headers would be on the schedule for each team.
The issue that kept this debate going was the service time rule for players. If the season is played at any length, the players would receive credit for service time. For example, Mookie Betts would then be a free agent after the 2020 season. However, if no games are played, they get the credit they had for service time at the end of the 2019 season. A key takeaway from this is that minor league players would obviously not receive credit. Hence the reason the White Sox demoted Michael Kopech to AAA and the Indians did the same with Bradley Zimmer, Aaron Civale, Zach Plesac, and James Karinchak. Trevor Bauer had some words, which most fans would agree with:
This will definitely be artillery for the player’s union at the time of the next CBA because most teams have obviously caught the attention of putting service time manipulation ahead of winning on the priorities list.
The draft will also take place this summer, but only with five rounds instead of 40. The bonuses for the draftees will not be upfront but deferred (10% right away and 45% spread over the next two years).
Players will also receive a lump sum of $170 million before the season, regardless of if any games are played at all.
On the back end, full-time employees will receive their salaries through April 30th with no layoffs, but clubs have warned of possible layoffs in 60 days if no games are played.
In addition, this has not been included in the agreement yet, but per Nightengale, team rosters may expand at the beginning of the season from 26 players to 29.
In fact, Jon Heyman reports that the MLB is open to expanding the playoffs from 10 to 14 teams for this season as a trial run.
Again, this is not set in stone, yet, but this could change the trajectory of the season. More than likely, this is to incentivize teams to compete right away because the trade deadline will be quickly approaching. In the end, this is definitely a move for owners to boost their revenue. Time will tell if it actually comes into effect.
Finally, per Jeff Passan, the players and league agreed on the following terms.
This may put the 2020 baseball season in moratorium for fans at least. The probable option is that games are played at neutral sites with no fans/ limited attendance. However, if there are no federal bans on traveling or mass gatherings, there is a chance that in August or toward the end of the season, even in areas hit the hardest by the COVID-19 outbreak (i.e. Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, etc.). This all depends on local and state governments and what their long-term plan is. Either way, it’s looking like there is a plan to have baseball, just as fans, we won’t be able to experience our favorite part: going to the ballpark. More news will surely follow all of these agreements.