Major League Baseball announced a a 60-game schedule Tuesday night, set to start on July 23 or July 24 without fans in attendance following the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.
The announcement by MLB came while more players continue to test positive for the virus.
Negotiations between owners and the players’ association is at an impasse, with the players unable to “strike,” according the current plan; therefore, baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally imposed the schedule on behalf of the owners, based on their rights under a March agreement with the union.
The 60-game season set to conclude on Sept. 27 and then a “regular” playoff month with five teams from each league making the postseason.
Due to efforts to contain extra exposure to COVID-19, teams will not venture outside their “regions.” For example, the Easts (NL East and AL East) will only play each other, just as the Centrals and Wests will. The schedule is not balanced. Within the region, teams will play a majority of games against their own division instead of more interleague games.
“There’s a lot more pressure because in a 60-game schedule, I think that you have 25% more teams that can compete, that had no idea they were going to compete for 162 games,” said Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz, now a broadcaster.
The trade deadline will be Aug. 31 and the deadline to be in an organization for postseason eligibility is Sept. 15.
Teams can resume making trades Friday, when rosters will no longer be frozen.
Active rosters will be 30 during the first two weeks of the season, 28 during the second two weeks and 26 after that. They will not expand to 28 on Sept. 1, as originally intended this year.
With no minor leagues, teams would be allowed to retain 60 players each, including a taxi squad. Up to three players from the taxi squad can travel with a team to a game, and one of the three must be a catcher.
Salaries were to have ranged from $563,500 at the minimum to $36 million for Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole at the top, but the spread would now be from $208,704 to $13,333,333.
MLB initially had sought last month in its initial economic proposal to reduce pay to about $1 billion, and players vowed not to give up full prorated pay and proposed a 114-game schedule that amounted to $2.8 billion.