Major League Baseball owners have approved a return-to-play plan that aims to have the sport return by early July in empty stadiums.
League sources told ESPN and The Athletic on Monday that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred plans to present the proposal to players Tuesday. An agreement between the owners and the Major League Baseball Players Association is needed to proceed with the plan.
Tuesday’s meeting between the league and the players’ association will set the stage for what both sides expect to be heated negotiations, according to ESPN.
owners, frightful of financial setbacks due to empty ballparks, will propose that players receive a percentage of their 2020 salaries based on a 50-50 revenue split, which is expected to be the most controversial aspect of the proposal.
MLB, the only uncapped team sport in the United States, never had a straight revenue split like the ones agreed to by unions in the NFL, NBA and NHL.
According to ESPN, the players are expected to reject that element of the plan and argue that an agreement in late March between the sides guaranteed players a prorated amount of their salaries based on how many games are played.
Other key aspects of the proposal include an 82-game season; expansion of postseason competition to 14 teams from 10; a designated hitter in the National League; a spring training period this year that would begin in June; expanded rosters, and geographical schedules.
Under the proposal, the MLB season could begin on Fourth of July weekend. Spring training likely wouldn’t include any games, with teams getting ready for the season at their own stadiums.