Two days after major league owners thought they had a deal for a 60-game season, the players’ union on Thursday proposed a 70-game season.
That could set the stage for a settlement of 65 or so games, depending on how willing owners might be to incur more expenses to what commissioner Rob Manfred called “a jointly developed framework” he and union chief Tony Clark developed in a meeting Tuesday.
Under that framework, considered by the league as the precursor to a deal and by the union as a proposal, the players would get around $1.51 billion in salary this season. A 65-game season would cost about $1.63 billion, and a 70-game season around $1.76 billion.
For the owners that thought the matter was resolved, they must consider whether to add salary in order to add games, or to move dollars from other economic areas of the framework Manfred and Clark discussed Tuesday, including revenue players would have received from expanded playoffs in the 2020 and 2021 seasons. The owners also could decline the offer and exercise their authority to implement a 48-game season, at about $1.21 billion, as agreed with the union on March 26. That could prompt the union to file a grievance over the salary lost over what players would have earned over a bargained season, a threat that Manfred has said the union has put at about $1 billion.
The players previously proposed seasons of 114 and 89 games, respectively, at $2.9 billion and $2.2 billion.