MLB players are angry and suspicious after commissioner Rob Manfred's latest power play

Jack Baer
·5-min read

Quite possibly the bleakest day in a very bleak year arrived for Major League Baseball on Monday, as commissioner Rob Manfred said he was no longer 100 percent sure there would be a season in 2020, lashing out at the players after they cut off financial negotiations over the weekend.

“It’s time to get back to work,” union chief Tony Clark said in a statement Saturday. “Tell us when and where.”

After months of public back and forth between league and union, MLB has decided to take the position that it won’t allow a season unless the MLBPA agrees to not file a grievance against the owners for not, in good faith, attempting “to play as many games as possible,” as outlined in a March agreement between the two sides. The union is unlikely to waive that right.

The MLBPA had previously said it was willing to play as many games as the league wished with full prorated salaries outlined in the March deal. MLB has at least informally introduced the idea of a 50-game season at full salaries, so it was clear the league could afford at least that for the season.

But, no. MLB instead decided to effectively break off talks with a demand it has to know will be a non-starter, and here we are. The commissioner of baseball now says he isn’t sure there will be a season less than a week after saying he was 100 percent sure.

As you can imagine, a number of players have thoughts on the situation.

MLB players react to league’s latest move

Eireann Dolan, wife of Washington Nationals closer Sean Doolittle, also had a reaction. She also implied Doolittle’s reaction to the news was both loud and NSFW.

One unnamed person on the player side of the game had a word to sum up the situation to FiveThirtyEight’s Travis Sawchik: “Bats---.”

Trevor Bauer is suspicious

In between the profanities and emojis, one outspoken player tried to read between the lines of the last week and see what MLB’s play here is.

As Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer broke down, he believes that the timeline of Manfred proclaiming there would 100 percent be a season, the players asking the league how many games to play and the league shutting things down means this is simply a stall tactic.

MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard a similar theory from a player-side person within the game.

And Brewers star Christian Yelich also found it persuasive.

It’s a pretty believable theory.

WASHINGTON,  - MARCH 26:  Nationals Park, home to the World Series Champion Washington Nationals, is empty on the scheduled date for Opening Day March 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. Major League Baseball has postponed the start of its season due to the COVID-19 outbreak and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred recently said the league is "probably not gonna be able to" play a full 162 game regular season. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
MLB and the MLBPA seem as far apart as ever. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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