As we patiently wait for MLB and the Seattle Mariners to resume play, we are beginning to hear some of the details expected to be in the MLB proposal they are set to give to the MLBPA this week.
The details of the plans that have been leaked thus far are all points we’ve heard in the past. The Mariners would play their home games in Seattle and face off against their AL West rivals and the 5 teams in the NL West. The goal would be to limit travel as much as possible.
The plan would also call for “around 80 games” and would start in early July, potentially on July 4th. This would be preceded by a 3-week spring training beginning in early to mid-June.
MLB would also reportedly expand the playoff field to 14 teams instead of 10, but it is not yet known how the 14 teams would be selected with 3 divisions and no AL or NL split. With only half a season of games and just under half the league making the playoffs, it adds pressure to every game and shrinks the margin of error while increasing the randomness factor.
The biggest sticking point between MLB and MLBPA will be the owners demand that the players take an even bigger pay cut than they already have. The players have indicated they won’t budge.
Back in March, the players agreed to a prorated salaries based on the number of games played. If 80 games are played, the player’s cost to the team would be half of his original salary. But the owners are still seeking more, and their greed may torpedo a deal before it’s even been formally introduced.
Obviously, there are still many issues, and contingencies left to work out. Its possible the Governor or Mayor will not want to have the Mariners playing in Seattle in 2020. What about the California teams, where the Governor has repeatedly stated that pro sports aren’t on the radar in 2020? The state host 5 of the Mariners division rivals.
Of course, all of this depends on the ability to quickly test players and personnel multiple times during the season without taking from the general publics’ stash of tests.
The plan will likely be formally introduced this week and will hopefully come with attachments and contingencies to answer some of the more pressing questions. But the momentum appears to be on the side of playing a 2020 season which is, at the very least, interesting news.