Report: MLBPA rejects deal for universal DH, expanded playoffs

Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark. (Carlos Osorio/AP)

The Major League Baseball Players Association has rejected a deal for a universal designated hitter and expanded playoffs, MLB Network's Jon Heyman reports.

MLB reportedly offered the union the implementation of designated hitters in both leagues if they agreed to an expanded playoffs, Heyman reports. The deal, which was made by MLB last month, also included the introduction of a pitch clock and an automated strike zone in spring training, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The union rebuffed the deal last week, Rosenthal reported, halting the inclusion of a universal DH for now. There has been no counterproposal yet.

Rosenthal reports that the union opposed both the pitch clock and the experiment with the strike zone, and did not view the increase to the players' post-season guarantee included in the deal as a significant change. The union also feared that signing off on an expanded playoffs now during a slow free-agent market could discourage teams from competing to their fullest, according to Rosenthal.

MLB and the MLBPA underwent weeks of tense negotiations last year before finally reaching a deal to proceed with the 2020 season. Several rule changes were implemented for the shortened season, including a universal designated hitter and a runner on second base in extra innings. The DH rule marked the first time that pitchers did not bat in National League history.

The post-season was also expanded for the 2020 season to 16 teams from the typical 10-team format.

Spring training is set to begin on Saturday, Feb. 27. Earlier on Monday, the Cactus League sent a letter to MLB asking to delay spring training due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Opening day for the 2021 regular season is Thursday, April. 1.

The current collective bargaining agreement between the MLB and MLBPA expires on Dec. 1.

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