Following round-the-clock negotiations since the coronavirus outbreak postponed the beginning of the season, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association struck a deal Friday that outlined how the sport would proceed in the coming months. The players gained certainty that even in a lost season they would be granted full service time. The league received significant financial hedges and control over how baseball would resume play.
It was a significant agreement with enormous implications that go beyond 2020. Let's unpack the full breadth of its consequences.
What does this agreement cover?
Almost every issue of significance to the sport as it tries to navigate this confusing moment in history: the resumption of play and scheduling, service time, player pay, amateur talent, arbitration, debt service and the luxury tax, among other issues.
Why was it necessary?
With MLB's original Opening Day scheduled for Thursday (March 26), the league faced a deadline on how it would handle player contracts. Paragraph 11 of the uniform player contract allows commissioner Rob Manfred to suspend deals in the case of a national emergency, which President Donald Trump declared March 13. Had the agreement not been agreed upon by the players Thursday and ratified by owners Friday, Manfred could have invoked Paragraph 11. Neither he nor the players wanted to display such myopia in the midst of a health crisis, so the incentive for both sides to compromise was strong.