Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred promised there will be a season of some kind in 2020.
"We're going to play baseball in 2020, 100 percent," Manfred said Wednesday during an interview with Tom Verducci on MLB Network, according to Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. "If it has to be in that March 26 agreement, so be it. But, one way or the other, we're playing baseball."
Manfred added that the league will send a new counterproposal to players shortly that he described to ESPN as a "significant move in the players' direction," according to Jeff Passan. He also said that the two sides are close on health protocols.
While the commissioner didn't specify how many games a 2020 season might consist of, he all but ruled out the 89-game schedule that players recently requested. Manfred cited commitments to MLB's television partners and warnings about a second wave of COVID-19 as reasons the league won't extend the playoffs into November, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
Negotiations between players and owners regarding a 2020 season have been at a standstill in recent weeks. Players have held firm in demanding full shares of their prorated salaries in a longer season, while MLB wants a shorter schedule with pay cuts.
While there's been little movement recently, Manfred is hopeful that he won't have to use his power to unilaterally implement a schedule for the 2020 season.
"The best thing for our sport is to reach a negotiated agreement (with the MLBPA)," Manfred said.