Major League Baseball owners have completed a proposal to begin the 2020 season, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported on Monday.
The players’ association is scheduled to meet with league officials on Tuesday to review the plans.
The proposal reportedly includes a start over the weekend of July 4 without fans and introduces a universal designated-hitter rule for one year, changing the complexion of the National League.
The plan hopes to have games take place in teams’ home stadiums unless local or state governments forbid them, which would see some games move to neutral sites or spring training fields.
A limited spring training would likely begin about three weeks before opening day, allowing players to get into game shape.
The schedule would be shortened to approximately 82 games, with interleague match-ups limited by geography to prevent extra travel.
Each league would add two more wild card slots for playoff contention, expanding the total postseason field from 10 teams to 14, and the 2020 All-Star game, scheduled for July 14 in Los Angeles, would likely be cancelled.
The 2020 MLB season was scheduled to begin on March 26 but has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, and the league has faced many problems when trying to restart.
With gate receipts eliminated and broadcast revenues significantly reduced due to a shortened schedule, each sports league has had to find answers for player salaries.
The owners’ current proposal would pay players a prorated portion of their negotiated salary, dependent on league revenue.
The MLB will also need to decide how to address team personnel who test positive for COVID-19, how to handle transactions and rosters, and how to protect older umpires, coaches and managers – as well as players with pre-existing health conditions.