Two pressing matters came to the forefront of discussions between Major League Baseball and the Player’s Association today. The universal designated hitter across both leagues and expanded playoffs that were part of MLB rules last year will not return in 2021, at least as things currently stand.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported the MLBPA rejected the universal designated hitter offer because it was contingent on accepting the expanded playoffs. The union made a counteroffer, which would have required a raise for players, but the MLB rejected this.
This is a tough situation because the collective bargaining agreement expires on December 1st, 2021. Now, players, rightfully so, do not want expanded playoffs because they assume owners will spend less to make the playoffs, especially since there is no difference in playoff games played between the top seed and lowest seeds. This could lead to suppressed wages.
On the other side of the coin, owners were willing to concede on National League designated hitters, but this would only provide the players 15 extra positions. Talks do not seem to be progressing, so hopefully an agreement comes into effect before the 2021 season and especially before the CBA expiration date.
In other news, Arizona’s Cactus League asked the MLB to delay Spring Training due to high COVID-19 rates, per Brahm Resnik of 12 News/KPNX TV in Phoenix. Nothing has been solidified by the MLB yet.
The Players Association still plans to play a full Spring Training and season with the assumption that players would be kept safe from the virus, regardless.
As expected, owners and players are starting on two very different wavelengths. Baseball season is right around the corner. The two sides will need to establish which rules will be in effect and where Spring Training might be played as soon as possible. Stay tuned to On Tap Sports Net as further updates become available.