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Volume 26 No. 181
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Service Time Protection Was MLBPA's Main Goal In Recent Deal

In normal times, players receive service time if they're on the roster for 172 days of the season
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

MLB players achieved their main goal of getting a full year of service time this year even if there is a shortened season or no season at all, MLBPA Exec Dir Tony Clark said. "Our big issue was service time -- ensuring that service time was protected and we were able to do that whether it be in a 162-game season, whether it be in a partial season or whether it be in a canceled season," Clark told THE DAILY. "That was something that players understood to be remarkably important." In normal times, MLB players receive one year of service time if they are on the 26-man roster for 172 of the 187-day season. Players with three years of service time are eligible for salary arbitration and players with six years can become free agents. MLB had the right to suspend player contracts in the event of a national emergency, as was declared by President Trump on March 13.

SAVING THIS YEAR'S DRAFT: There was discussion on that issue as well as on the MLB Draft, which had been scheduled for June 10 and now is expected to take place sometime in July. "They have the ability to make changes to the draft, and the draft is going to happen in 2020 and the draft is going to happen in 2021," Clark said. "The league has the flexibility to make some adjustments to the draft, which is different than the position that they had originally taken which was a desire to cancel it or move it to 2021," he said. There has been some criticism in the media of the union's agreement to allow MLB to shorten the draft to as few as five rounds this year, among other restrictions. Clark said, "Everyone is entitled to their opinion but our players made sure there was a draft this year and guys could realize their dream of playing professional baseball sooner rather than later."

MANY PLAYERS INVOLVED IN PROCESS: The MLBPA is long considered the strongest union in sports, for, among other things, its involvement of large numbers of players in collective bargaining. The agreement came after multiple conference calls involving not just the players on the union's executive committee level and executive board level, but also other players who wanted to take part in the talks which occurred in a little less than a span of two weeks. "There were hundreds of players involved formally as part of this process throughout," Clark said. Talks will continue with the players union and MLB about how the game will come back, including schedules and safety measures taken, and including possible testing of players. Local, state and federal officials, including the CDC, would likely be part of those discussions, Clark said. "There will be, have been and will continue to be discussions about what bringing guys back looks like against the the backdrop of where we are, where we will be, as a society and the tests that are available or will be available at that time," Clark said.