Houston Astros: MLB and MLBPA may be running out time for a deal

With the latest news, the Houston Astros’ season remains very much so up in the air, with Rob Manfred sending the MLBPA an important letter. What’s up?

We’re in the heat of the summer and the Houston Astros are no closer to starting up their season than they were three months ago and you have to wonder if the 2020 campaign will be cancelled because of both sides refusing to come to an agreement.

Each side — the MLB and the MLBPA  — are holding the line on their principles as proposals continue to get exchanged back and forth.

There have been plans for games to occur within the 45-70 range but nothing has come to fruition on an agreement.

The images of Jose Altuve, George Springer, Justin Verlander, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa and Zack Greinke and the rest of the supporting cast for an appearance to start the season could be fading away.

At first, it was the players wanting their full prorated salary for the remaining games to be played — roughly a $1.5 billion pool and about 37 percent of their salaries — when that was embedded into the MLB’s plan, then the right to grieve workplace concerns was also added which ruffled the feathers of the MLBPA a bit.

The MLBPA then sent back another proposal for more games and a 50/50 split of 2021 national television revenues which would include the mutual waiver clause in the deal.

That likely won’t pass muster as well as the proposed vote of the league’s 60-game proposal — I talk about it here — that was to take place today.

The players want to know the “when” and “where” as far as how the season will start but they haven’t gotten an answer from MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on the specifics.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan is reporting that Manfred did send a letter over MLBPA executive director Tony Clark to cancel the expanded playoffs and the designated hitter notion in both leagues next season if no games are played in 2020.

The biggest concern with the Commish’s shot across the bow is that they’ll lose multi-millions of

money in additional playoff revenue with extra teams in the fold.

So this battle will continue because Manfred has not yet set the terms of the MLB season — and who knows if he plans to — in order to get things moving.

But here’s the deal — time is running out and if they want to get things going in mid-July, things are getting awfully close to that threshold, especially if they want to finish things up by October, which would technically still be on time for likely a normal start in 2021.

The force majeure option is still on the table — it’s the bazooka that he has in his pocket — but that option would not be in the best interest of either party.

Next: The MLBPA's latest proposal needs to gain traction

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So they’ll continue to negotiate in good faith with their hopes pinned that a start can be imminent soon.

Until then, we’ll have to wait for the next episode of “As the MLB Turns.”

Let’s hope the Houston Astros get going…

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