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Elephant Rumblings: Owners send proposal to players for 2020 MLB season

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Good morning, Athletics Nation!

The baseball news cycle is really heating up this week, as the sport takes steps toward potentially starting a 2020 MLB season amid the coronavirus pandemic. Monday brought word that the team owners approved a proposal for how a season might look, and they will discuss that plan in negotiations with the players on Tuesday.

The exact details of the offer are not yet known, but plenty of rumors are flying around, especially from Bob Nightengale of USA Today. One is that the season would be around 82 games, which is half of a normal MLB campaign. The schedule would begin in the first few days of July, as has previously been rumored, with some extra spring training beforehand in June. The postseason would go from 10 to 14 teams, and would start in October as usual. Rosters would go from 26 up to 30, plus a 20-man taxi squad to help make up for the likely loss of the entire minor league season. But all of those ideas have already been discussed for weeks now, though previous versions hoped for 100+ games.

The biggest change is the alignment setup. Nightengale reports that the AL and NL would remain in their normal structure, but that teams will only play against their own geographical divisions — for example, the A’s only play against AL West and NL West clubs. That all-West setup has been mentioned before, but not alongside the concept of the traditional leagues staying intact.

With all that interleague play going on, the two sides will also consider making the DH universal for all games. That would certainly make sense in a world where 50% of games are played between teams from opposite leagues, and also in a world where pitcher health is an especially hot-button topic after they’ll be forced to rush through an abbreviated spring training. Even if you hate the DH, it really makes a lot of sense for 2020.

Will the MLBPA agree to this deal, or will they balk at the idea of having their salaries reduced and/or tied to league revenues? Stay tuned all week to find out!

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