At least six owners reportedly don't want an MLB season — here's why that could be a big problem
As it turns out, the 2020 Major League Baseball season could depend on how many owners would rather play baseball than skip the season completely.
According to Andy Martino from SNY, at least six owners would rather cancel baseball than play in 2020. While Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic cited an agent who said there are at least eight owners who would prefer not to play. And the difference in that number could be the key.
As backward as it seems, baseball team owners who don't want a baseball season could actually sink MLB in 2020.
The reason? The league's last effort to restart baseball if no agreement can be reached with the players is to determine a season. A March agreement between MLB and the players' union gives Commissioner Rob Manfred the power to impose a season of any length as long as the players receive proportional salaries equal to the number of games played.
However, Manfred needs 75 percent of the owners to approve the plan.
What are 75 percent of 30? That would be 22.5 - so there is a big difference between six owners who don't want a season and eight owners who don't want a season.
Some MLB owners are said to prefer not to play in 2020. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn / Minnesota Twins / Getty Images)
The problem between players and owners remains the salary. The March agreement stipulates that players will receive pro-rated salaries, but the owners have repeatedly asked for additional cuts in wages as the fans, most likely not in the stands, are not earning revenue. The players steadfastly declined an offer that did not include a proportional salary. If all else fails, Manfred and the owners could offer pro rata salaries for a number of games that are pleasant for the bottom line - which would bring us a season that may include fewer than 50 games. The players threw up their hands at the weekend and said the owners acted maliciously and have now adopted the mantra "Tell us when and where".
The last stumbling block in this saga was Monday, when Manfred withdrew his previous guarantee for a 2020 season and said that he was now not 100% sure. According to a source confirmed to Yahoo Sports, the underlying problem is that owners fear that players would file a complaint against the owners for not following most games in good faith. One of the league's demands is that the players' union waive their right to complain.
It is the risk of a complaint - and a potential billion dollar price if it is determined that they have operated maliciously - that the owners fear most.
The fate of a 2020 season may depend on how much fear the owner of a complaint is more than their desire to see baseball on the field.
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