Manfred says ’100%' chance of MLB season, new proposal soon

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Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

FILE - In this Nov. 21, 2019, file photo, baseball commissioner Rob Manfred speaks to the media at the owners meeting in Arlington, Texas. Major League Baseball rejected the players' offer for a 114-game regular season in the pandemic-delayed season with no additional salary cuts and told the union it did not plan to make a counterproposal, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday, June 3, 2020, because no statements were authorized.(AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

NEW YORK – Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says there is a “100%” chance of big league ball this year.

Major League Baseball will make another proposal to start the pandemic-delayed season in empty ballparks, but Manfred vowed Wednesday to unilaterally order opening day if an agreement is not reached.

“I can tell you unequivocally we are going to play Major League Baseball this year,” he said.

Manfred insisted the chance of playing this year was “100%.”

The players’ association made its second proposal Tuesday, asking for an 89-game regular season and 100% of prorated salaries. MLB’s plan a day earlier was for a 76-game season, would guarantee 50% of prorated salaries and hinge 25% in additional money on the postseason’s completion.

“It will be a another significant move in the players’ direction in terms of the salary issue that has kept us apart,” Manfred said during an interview with ESPN before that network’s coverage of the amateur draft.

“We're hopeful that it will produce reciprocal movement from the players’ association, that we’ll see a number other than 100% on salary and some recognition that 89 games, given where we are in the calendar in the course of the pandemic is not realistic," he said.

MLB has threatened a shorter schedule if players insist on 100% of their prorated salaries. The union likely would file a grievance, contending a longer schedule was economically feasible and asking arbitrator Mark Irvings to award damages.