The players are united in their desire to play a season in 2020 and Angels outfielder Mike Trout is the latest to voice his determination to get back on the field.
During the extent of the negotiations between Major League Baseball and the MLBPA over how to get the season underway in 2020, both from a health and financial standpoint in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, one thing has stood out. The game’s best player has been silent on the matter. That all changed on Tuesday, as Mike Trout has officially spoken.
Known for both his bat and his reserved nature, it is rare when Trout steps onto social media and posts anything outside of images of his kids or the occasional commercial for his many endorsements. However, even Trout couldn’t stand back and let MLB paint the players as the bad guys in their ongoing negotiations.
Like many of his peers, Trout relayed the message that has been purveyed by the players’ association since the start. “Tell us when and where,” Trout posted on Twitter, including with an image of the statement released Monday evening by Tony Clark on behalf of the players.
At the heart of the most recent rancor is a statement by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday. After taking to the air before the draft and saying their will “100% be a season” in 2020, Manfred walked it back on Monday, telling ESPN that he is “not confident” a season will occur.
So what changed in a matter of days?
Over the weekend, the players officially rejected the owner’s latest offer, which sought more concessions from the players in exchange for a delayed season. In their rejection, the players noted that they would not send forward a counter-proposal. That put the ball in Manfred’s court to dictate a season length to be paid at the full pro-rated salary agreed to in March. That same agreement also stated that the commissioner would in good faith try to play the most games possible.
The problem is the owners would prefer to play the shortest possible regular season if they are not receiving further salary concessions. With the players telling Manfred they are ready to report, the commissioner needs to delay the start further in order to fit in the 50-game or less season the owners would prefer to mitigate their losses without fans in attendance. That means Manfred needs to pump the brakes a bit to make the timeline meet that desire.
Essentially, the players called the owners bluff and have set themselves up in a way to contest whether the owners kept with their initial agreement. The owners then demanded that the only way they would start sooner would be if the players waived their right to litigate or seek arbitration over the handling of negotiations. The players will refuse to do so.
The players, including Mike Trout, want to find a way to play baseball. The constant back and forth through the media has led him to come out of hibernation and speak up for his fellow players. When the guy you should be making the face of the game is unhappy, that can’t be good for Major League Baseball. It really makes the disconnect between the owners and the players hit home.
Mike Trout speaks for the players, the fans, and everyone else. We want baseball back, and we’re ready for this delay to end.