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Astros: Latest MLB proposal moves us no closer to season

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 30: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred visits "Mornings With Maria" hosted by Maria Bartiromo at Fox Business Network Studios on September 30, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 30: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred visits "Mornings With Maria" hosted by Maria Bartiromo at Fox Business Network Studios on September 30, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images) /
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We’re no closer to seeing the Houston Astros play in 2020 than we were before MLB’s latest proposal.

As MLB and the MLB Players Association shamefully bicker about money, fans in Houston are left wondering when their Astros will take the field. Although MLB has submitted its latest proposal to the players, we’re no closer to an agreement than we were before.

The league initially proposed an 82-game schedule with an expanded postseason, but it also called for players to take pay cuts off their prorated salaries. The players responded with a 114-game proposal and full prorated salaries. Both were dead on arrival.

Now MLB has come back with a proposal for a 76-game season, though it still includes pay cuts. It got rid of the sliding scale from the previous proposal, but the amount of money guaranteed to players is actually less. The players would end up with more money if the postseason is played, but it doesn’t matter. They won’t go for it.

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The players have made it clear they will not accept any pay cuts beyond the prorated salaries they’ve already agreed to. Since the league doesn’t want to agree to that for any longer than it needs to, my suspicion is that we’ll end up with a season of 48-50 games when all is said and done.

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This proposal from MLB, which is sure to be rejected by the players, has some interesting caveats. The main one is the league proposing to do away with the qualifying offer this offseason and the resulting loss of draft picks that a team must face when signing a player who rejects the qualifying offer.

A team losing a player who signs a deal for a certain amount would still get a compensatory pick, but the team signing the player wouldn’t give up any picks. The Astros have some key players hitting free agency this winter, most notably George Springer and Michael Brantley. If teams don’t stand to lose picks, they could be more inclined to spend in this one-off offseason.

That would probably hurt the Astros’ chances of retaining Springer for the long haul. Fans want him back, and the team surely does as well, but I don’t see them giving him stupid money. Some other team might, though, especially if there’s no draft pick loss attached.

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But the good news is this proposal from MLB is going nowhere. We still don’t know what type of season we’ll have or what terms it’ll be under, so we’re not out of the woods yet. Astros fans will just have to wait for the millionaires and billionaires to duke it out.

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