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Players offer 114-game season, no more cuts

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball players proposed a 114-game regular season Sunday, up from 82 in management’s offer, but no additional pay cuts beyond the one they agreed to in March, a person familiar with the plan told The Associated Press.

Opening day in the coronavirus-delayed season would be June 30 and the regular season would end Oct. 31, nearly five weeks after the Sept. 27 conclusion that MLB’s proposal stuck to from the season’s original schedule. The union offered scheduling flexibility to include more doubleheaders.

Players, like MLB, would increase postseason teams from 10 to 14. While management proposed an expanded postseason for 2020 only, the union offered it for this year and next.

A player would receive about about 70% of his salary under the union plan. MLB’s offer Tuesday included a sliding scale in which those at the $563,500 minimum would get about 47% and those at the top — led by Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole at $36 million — would receive less than 23%.

All players would have the right to opt out of the season under the union plan. Those who meet qualifications for high risk or reside with a person who qualifies as high risk would receive salary and major league service. Others who opt out would receive major league service time but no salary.

If the postseason is not held because of a second wave of the pandemic, the union plan calls for $100 million of the approximately $2.8 billion in salary to be deferred with interest, payable in November 2021 and November 2022. Only players whose original 2020 salaries were $10 million or more would be subject to having money deferred.

The union estimates high-payroll teams would have up to $7 million in payroll relief, the person said.

Draft in studio

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball’s shortened amateur draft will remain at the MLB Network studios in Secaucus, New Jersey, for the first round on June 10.

MLB shortened the selections to five rounds and 160 picks in response to the new coronavirus pandemic, by far the fewest since the draft started in 1965. Before the pandemic, the draft had been scheduled to take place at Omaha, Nebraska, ahead of the now-canceled College World Series.

Clubs were able to reduce the draft as part of their March 26 agreement with the players’ association. The combined value of their signing bonus pools is $235,906,800 and the amount of signing bonus pool money eliminated is $29,578,100.

The first 37 picks will take place on the opening day and the remainder on June 11. The deadline for selected players to sign was pushed back from July 10 to Aug. 1.

Detroit picks first, followed by Baltimore, Miami and Kansas City.

Houston was stripped of its first- and second-round selections as part of MLB penalties for using a video camera to steal catcher’s signs. Boston lost its second-round selection for improper use of video.

Baseball’s draft was long held by conference call at the commissioner’s office in New York. The draft was moved to Lake Buena Vista, Florida, for 2007 and 2008.

Residents of the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico are subject to the draft.

As part of the agreement with the union, slot values to determine signing bonus pools will remain at 2019 levels and players passed over in the draft are limited to signing bonuses of $20,000 or less. That might cause more high school players to go to college.

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