For months, it seemed like a foregone conclusion there would be a Major League Baseball season in 2020. The only question appeared to be in reference to what form it would take in the face of a global pandemic.
On Monday, commissioner Rob Manfred said he's no longer confident a season will take place, and apparently some owners want it that way.
"There are definitely more than eight owners who don’t want to play," a player agent said, according to Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic.
It's been reported that Manfred has the authority to implement a shortened schedule with the expected length running between 50-60 games (a theoretical 48-game schedule is not being considered). However, after the players rejected the most recent proposal from the league, Manfred is apparently reluctant to impose his schedule because it may result in a grievance from the union.
Manfred needs support from 75% of owners (23) to unilaterally implement the schedule.
After calling the stalled negotiations a "disaster" on ESPN on Monday, Manfred wants the bickering with the union to stop so a suitable agreement can be reached, sources told Rosenthal.
The crux of the uncertainty is a disagreement over pay and finances. The MLBPA wants the owners to pay out full prorated salaries for the amount of games played, as stated in the original March agreement.
The owners have stated that without fans, full prorated salaries are untenable due to prospective financial losses. They've also said there was an understanding that the prorated agreement could be modified if fans were not allowed to return to ballparks.
For now, the season remains up in the air. Players have voiced their displeasure with the negotiations, and it's expected that the acrimony during these discussions could have a far-reaching effect on CBA negotiations after the 2021 campaign.