Rob Manfred held a conference call Monday with the 30 MLB team owners to propose a potential start to the regular season in early July. The plan was approved and now Manfred looks to take this proposal to the MLBPA Tuesday. The different proposed situations have not been confirmed, but it is hard to think the MLBPA will completely approve of the reported potential changes. Some include a universal DH, an 82-game re gular season, expanded playoffs, reconfiguring divisions, extra innings revamped, 30-man active rosters with a 20-player taxi squad and a 50/50 revenue split between players and owners. The corona virus has given Rob Manfred plenty of time to think about ways to change the game for the better… at least in his mind. Some of these potential changes will be approved, but I don’t think they all will be for this initial proposal. I would like to give my take on each one, and predict if they will be approved or not.
There have been talks around the league about adding a DH to the National League for years. Some players are for trying it out and some are not. A universal DH for the National League means teams will need at least a couple years to move money around to acquire a player to fill that position. Yes, they can easily just take a player off their bench and slot him into that spot in the order, but the skill level between the National and American League teams at the DH spot will be lopsided for a few years.
82-game regular season
The only other option would be a 100-game season like they initially talked about. That seems extremely unlikely considering they would either need to have multiple double headers for each team (not including the double-headers that will eventually happen cause of bad weather) or finishing the season in November with the playoffs being in December.
I’m assuming the expanded playoffs was proposed to try to make up for all the revenue that has been lost. It seems like the MLB is just trying to do this for this year and revert back to the normal playoff format next year unless this has a major positive impact. It would make sense for the MLB Players Association to approve of this, because they do not get paid their salaries for the postseason. They are paid with bonuses through postseason shares, so the more games played in the playoffs the more money each player receives.
The MLB would like to reconfigure all the teams into an East, Central and West division. This would decrease the amount of travel for each team and seems like this will also be a test for just this year to see if it works out. I can’t see the MLBPA declining traveling less during the season.
Extra Innings Revamped
How the extra innings will be revamped is a big question mark right now, but talks around the league say players will already being on base before the first batter comes to the plate. For instance, a runner will already be on first base before the inning starts. As a huge baseball fan and former player, I would hate this part of the proposal.
Prediction: Not Approved
30-Man Active Roster and 20-Player Taxi Squad
The active roster in the MLB was just increased from 25 to 26 players, but more changes might be made due to Covid-19. There is wide speculation there won’t be a minor-league season this year so having a 30-man active roster with 20 players ready to play on call only makes sense.
50/50 Revenue Split
The MLB just agreed on prorated salaries for players back in March so it seems they will continue to ask for pay reductions from the MLBPA due to the revenue that has been lost. The MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said they are done negotiating changes after their prorated salary agreement. Scott Boras is not a fan of this either. Agreeing to less money is not something professional athletes just agree upon.
Prediction: Not Approved