Manfred, Clark meet, develop basis for possible MLB agreement

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and players’ union head Tony Clark have developed a framework that Manfred said Wednesday could form the basis of an agreement as the two sides try to start the pandemic-delayed season.

Manfred said he met with Clark at his request for several hours on Tuesday in Phoenix, where Clark has a home and where he has been since spring training was cut short on March 12.

“I summarized that framework numerous times in the meeting and sent Tony a written summary today,” Manfred said in a statement. “Consistent with our conversations yesterday, I am encouraging the Clubs to move forward and I trust Tony is doing the same.”

The two sides have been about $1 billion apart in guaranteed salary as they try to reach a deal to start the season. Players originally were set to earn $4 billion in salaries before the coronavirus outbreak began.

The union cut off talks Saturday, a day after MLB’s last proposal, and said additional negotiations were futile. Players told MLB to unilaterally set the schedule but Manfred said MLB would not while there was a threat of a grievance.

The sides reached a deal on March 26 in which players agreed to prorated salaries, part of an agreement that included a guarantee of service time even if no games are played this year.

Teams say they need more pay cuts to afford to play in empty ballparks. Players say they will not accept additional salary reductions.