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MLB presents a new proposal, which doesn’t mean anything, unless it does

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League is reportedly offering full prorated pay for 60 games, but only if the Players Association waives their grievance.

San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Major League Baseball is on the verge of returning, or on the verge of losing the 2020 season altogether, depending on how you want to look at it and who you want to trust.

On Wednesday, a flurry of reports came out about MLB and the Players Association, and things either look rosy or grim. We just can’t seem to agree on which. But history tells us it’s the latter.

Here’s what we do know: MLB owners — and commissioner Rob Manfred — have been on a long quest to ruin baseball for players and fans alike.

So far the negotiations between the league and the Players Association have essentially gone like this:

Players: “We’d like to be compensated a full day’s pay for every game we play.”

Owners: “How about you take a paycut?”

Players: “We’d like to be compensated a full day’s pay for every game we play.”

Owners: “We hear you, so we’ve upped our offer: How about you take that same paycut we previously mentioned?”

Players: “We’d like to be compensated a full day’s pay for every game we play.”

Owners: “Understood. Here’s a nicely wrapped gift box, open it up to find our new offer, which is that you take the same paycut we previously mentioned.”

And so with that freshly in the rear view mirror, Manfred and union chief Tony Clark met to try and work some things out.

Following the meeting, the league sent out another proposal. You’d be forgiven for expecting it to be yet another repackaged version of their previous proposals, but it sounds like MLB might actually be trending in the right direction.

That’s a good start, considering that Manfred had the right to impose a 48 or 50-game season with fully prorated salaries, but seemed hesitant to do so at the risk of angering the wallet-hugging owners.

But the thing with good starts is that they so very often don’t have good middles or endings. Upon further examination, it would seem that the league is offering up a little more pay as ... uhh ... hush money?

Ahh, an extra 10 or 12 games of pay in exchange for not filing a grievance that’s worth substantially more money than 12 games of pay.

Not so rosy anymore.

It’s still unclear exactly what the agreement is, since people are reporting things in a million directions. This all started when MLB Network’s Jon Heyman — who is quite a reputable reporter — stated that the sides were on the verge of an agreement.

That was refuted by not only other reputable reporters, but by the union itself.

We’re still missing a lot of details, but reading between the lines might suggest that waiving the grievance is the biggest sticking point.

It’s worth noting that the latest proposal doesn’t actually pay the players any more than past proposals, it just pays them more fairly for the amount of labor. Still, one would expect the players to counter with a proposal that has more games in it to try and get a larger amount of money.

And so we move slightly forward, likely a little closer to an agreement, but almost surely still very far away.

Update: Manfred has released a statement that is . . . vaguely optimistic, I guess?