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MLB ‘will not play more than 60 games’ or respond to players’ latest plan, union says
7:51 PM ET
  • Jesse RogersESPN Staff Writer

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      Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers MLB for ESPN.com.

Major League Baseball won’t counter the MLB Players Association’s latest offer to play 70 games this season.

Instead, the league is sticking with its most recent offer of 60 games at full prorated salaries.

“MLB has informed the Association that it will not respond to our last proposal and will not play more than 60 games,” MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said in a statement Friday. “Our Executive Board will convene in the near future to determine next steps. Importantly, players remain committed to getting back to work as soon as possible.”

The executive board is likely to meet Saturday.

Players now have two options: accept the 60-game offer with expanded playoffs, along with a promise to not file a grievance, or reject it and force commissioner Rob Manfred to implement a schedule, potentially without extra playoff teams but still with the right to grieve the terms of the March agreement between the two sides.

After spring training was shut down due to the coronavirus in March, the league and the players agreed that when play picked up again, players would be paid on a prorated basis but also that they would discuss the economic feasibility of playing without fans in the stands. The players association says that discussion has nothing to do with their pay. That disagreement has led to weeks of acrimony between the sides.

Complicating matters is the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen a spike in cases in Florida and Arizona. The Philadelphia Phillies closed their spring training facility in Clearwater, Florida, on Friday after five players and three staff members tested positive for the coronavirus, and the Toronto Blue Jays shuttered their site in Dunedin, Florida, after a player showed symptoms consistent with the virus.

In Scottsdale, Arizona, the San Francisco Giants shut their facility after one person who had been to the site and one family member exhibited symptoms Thursday. The Texas Rangers also closed their camp in Arizona, saying no players or staff had tested positive but that they want to expand testing protocols for COVID-19.

Other teams, according to sources, are contemplating doing the same.

It has been a roller-coaster week for negotiations, as both sides continue their public acrimony. On Wednesday, Manfred released a statement saying that the league and the players had the framework of an agreement to play 60 games at full prorated salaries. However, Clark refuted that in a statement of his own, and the players countered with their latest offer of 70 games on Thursday.

Many thought the sides would meet in the middle, but Friday’s announcement ended that possibility. Teams will play 60 games, or Manfred will dictate the terms of the schedule.

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