Brewers GM ‘firmly’ believes there will be 2020 MLB season, even if it’s only 50 games

As players and owners continue to negotiate the structure of a 2020 MLB season, which is on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of possible scenarios are coming to light. One of those is a significantly shorter regular season than the 82-game arrangement that was originally floated by the league. 

For his part, Brewers general manager David Stearns thinks a short season — one consisting of about 50 games — is a distinct possibility: 

Stearns goes on to say that he “firmly” believes a 2020 season will happen in some form. The form, though, is the big question. It’s surely no accident that Stearns has mentioned the possibility of a 50-game regular season. The players recently proposed a 114-game regular season slate, but the owners have rejected that idea

Owners want a shorter regular season, especially if they agree to honor the March accord in which players agreed to prorate their 2020 salaries based on the number of regular season games played. As well, MLB wants to get to the postseason as quickly as possible for fear that a fall resurgence of COVID-19 could put a stop to things. MLB’s national TV contracts are mostly build upon postseason broadcasts, and the absence of a postseason would be a substantial hit on that front. 

Jon Heyman recently reported that commissioner Manfred as part of that March agreement can unilaterally impose a regular season of any length so long as prorated salaries are paid and so long as bargaining has been deemed “good faith” in nature. Per Jeff Passan of ESPN, that’s in part why a 50-game regular season is in play. 

It’s unlikely that players will agree to such a short regular season while being cooperative on other fronts, such as the universal DH and expanded postseason. As such, don’t be surprised if that 50-game idea gets negotiated upward to 80 or so. In any event, given MLB’s desires it’s not surprising to see a team exec like Stearns once again advance the the idea of a 50-game season. 

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