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Report: Rob Manfred Could Mandate Season Length if MLBPA Rejects 60-Game Proposal

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is expected to intervene and set a schedule for the 2020 season if the MLB Players Association rejects the league's latest proposal, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman

The MLBPA's executive board was originally expected to vote on the league's 60-game proposal this weekend. That vote has been delayed several days while the union gathers more information on the safety and health protocols in light of spring training facilities being shut down, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. If the board—made up of an eight-person subcommittee and 30 team representatives—votes against the 60-game plan, then Manfred is expected to mandate and set the 2020 schedule, COVID-19 numbers "permitting," per Heyman.

Amid ongoing negotiations, the league informed the players' union on Friday that it will not accept its offer of a 70-game season and does not plan to submit a counter. Previously, MLB offered the union a proposal of a 60-game season with full prorated salaries, which the league says is the maximum amount of games it is willing to hold in 2020. The owners fear a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic puts the postseason, and the $1 billion television revenue that goes with it, in jeopardy.

MLB is reportedly closing all Spring Training facilities in Arizona and Florida for sanitation after individuals from multiple teams tested positive for COVID-19. The Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays, Houston Astros, San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Angels have all had players or visitors that either tested positive or showed symptoms of coronavirus in recent days at their respective training facilities, according to multiple reports.

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The union's subcommittee is reportedly expected to be "near unanimous" in voting against the MLB's proposal of a 60-game season, with Rockies infielder Daniel Murphy a potential objector, reports Heyman. According to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, the players are not interested in waiving their right to file a grievance or agreeing to an expanded postseason for the next two years if the number of games scheduled is not "substantially higher" than 50.

If the MLBPA board denies the league's 60-game proposal, Manfred will reportedly set the season as outlined in the March 26 agreement between the league and union. There is "little to no appetite" for MLB to cancel the 2020 season, with COVID-19 being the "bigger threat" to the year, according to Heyman.