NEW YORK (AP) – Players reached an agreement with Major League Baseball to account for this year’s service by players, even in the event the campaign is canceled in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the agreement would leave unresolved details about what a new calendar would look like.
As part of the agreement approved Thursday night by the union, the players will not contest the loss of their wages if no match is reached.
Club managers will provide advance salary payments of $ 170 million in two stages. There will be no need to return that money if the campaign is canceled.
Player salaries this year were expected to total about $ 4 billion.
The clubs had the prerogative to cut the amateur draft in 2020 and 2021 and to freeze the value of contract signing bonuses at 2019 levels.
A person close to the negotiations disclosed the details of the agreement to The Associated Press, on condition of anonymity because no announcement has been made about it.
The teams approved the deal, which consists of about 17 pages, on Friday, the source said.
The campaign was due to open Thursday, but it was postponed until at least mid-May amid fears of the spread of the coronavirus.
The preseason was terminated early, on March 12, due to the pandemic. It is unknown when baseball may resume.
Both parties agreed to make a “good faith effort” to schedule as many games as possible this year, depending on the rules imposed by the authorities, the possibility of travel, the health of the players themselves and economic viability.
They also agreed to consider the possibility of continuing to play beyond the end of October or the beginning of November, when the World Series usually ends, even if this requires the use of neutral stadiums with a roof.
The parties would also consider the option of increasing the double cards to play as many matches as possible. If sanitary precautions persist, players would also be willing to play behind closed doors.
And adjustments could be made to the postseason format.
There was little discussion about the alternative of playing only seven innings on the doubleheads, but that option was not ruled out either.
The players considered the issue of service time key. The older players were willing to give up money so that their younger colleagues could obtain attractive contracts for the 2021 campaign.
If there are no games in 2020, any player on the 40-man payroll, on the 60-day disabled list or on direct assignments to minors and with a major league contract would receive a campaign time-of-service accreditation unrealized.
That service time would be equal to that recorded for the player in 2019. If only part of the season is played, the service time will be equivalent to what a player would have received throughout the calendar.
Mookie Betts, Trevor Bauer, Marcus Stroman, Gorge Springer and JT Realmuto could all declare themselves free agents even if not a single game of the season is disputed. The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Betts from Boston just before the preseason on the assumption that they would have the star player for a full season.
In exchange, the players would give up their wages if there is no season, except for the $ 170 million that is given in advance to the players at the bottom of the pay list.
In the case of a shortened campaign, the 2020 salaries would be prorated, depending on what percentage is reached to dispute.
The union’s board of directors and other players met for a conference call and unanimously approved the deal.