The COVID-19 crisis had led Major League Baseball to re-evaluate its plans for the 2020 season, though players and executives continue to clash on major issues.
But are some owners willing to scrap the entire season altogether?
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, sources report a handful of owners might be “perfectly willing” to shut down the 2020 season, largely for the sake of their teams’ finances. The goal would be to “slash payroll costs and reduce losses” as teams struggle financially in wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Naturally, finances have been an issue for teams across the league as the pandemic impedes their ability to make money. But teams have taken different approaches when coping with the crisis.
Some, like the Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals, have agreed to pay minor league players through much or all of the regular season timeframe. Others, like the Oakland Athletics and Pittsburgh Pirates, have slashed benefits (like 401(k)s) and pay.
Of course, pay has been a big factor for major league players as the league looks to resume. MLB executives and players have been at odds in recent weeks as players feel the league is attempting to back out of a deal struck March 26 that would give players prorated pay and offer 50-50 revenue sharing as a plausible solution to the league’s financial woes.
But, are owners really willing to abandon the season for the sake of money? MLB Network’s Jon Heyman doesn’t think so.
“Highly doubtful many owners are anxious (or even perfectly willing) to blow up season to save money,” Heyman tweeted Sunday. “OK, maybe Oakland (based on what it?s done so far). Could be 1 or 2 others, but those are outliers, and as @DavidPSamson points out, it?d take 8 to blow up a potential deal.”
Highly doubtful many owners are anxious (or even perfectly willing) to blow up season to save money. OK, maybe Oakland (based on what it?s done so far). Could be 1 or 2 others, but those are outliers, and as @DavidPSamson points out, it?d take 8 to blow up a potential deal. https://t.co/7HF52VlRlY
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) May 31, 2020
So far, it doesn’t appear to be nearly enough support behind scrapping the season, if there even is any. Whether players and league executives will strike a deal before it’s too late, however, remains to be seen.