On Wednesday, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN's Karl Ravech the league will have a season this year in one form or another.
During an interview before the 2020 MLB Draft was aired, Manfred said, "I can tell you unequivocally we are gonna play Major League Baseball this year."
While the owners plan to respond to the MLB Players Association's latest proposal (89 games with full prorated salaries) the two sides remain apart in negotiations. If things break down, Manfred does have the power to unilaterally implement a plan (which would reportedly consist of a 48-game season) as long as the players get their full prorated salaries. That is the result of negotiations between the two sides in March. If that happens the players would likely use their right to deny an expanded postseason.
If Manfred does act unilaterally, it would likely poison the well before the two sides begin negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement. The current CBA is set to expire after the 2021 season.
When discussing the chances of acting on his own, Manfred said the following:
""I would prefer to negotiate a new agreement with the MLBPA that gets us more games and resolves the issues that have separated us amicably. But at the end of the day, we negotiated for the right in March to start the season on a number of games that we select in these particular circumstances. And if we have to, we'll exercise that right.""
Manfred claimed revenues will be down "over 70 percent" in 2020. Then punctuated the discussion with this:
""But you know what, I think at the end of the day the most important thing ... is that we play Major League Baseball in 2020. And I can tell you unequivocally we are gonna play Major League Baseball this year.""
We'll see what form the season takes, but it appears Manfred is dead-set on having one.