Major League Baseball is preparing to offer some additional financial incentives in order to reach an agreement on a 2020 season.
The league will consider removing the luxury tax and qualifying offer in order to help spur this winter's free-agent market coming off a shortened season, Andy Martino of SNY reports.
With teams bracing for financial losses due to the coronavirus stoppage, pending free agents could be hit hard in the offseason. Getting rid of the tax and qualifying offer are two options being considered to help bring about a compromise between owners and players, according to Martino.
In 2019, the luxury-tax threshold was set at $206 million. Three teams - the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Chicago Cubs - exceeded the threshold last year, with Boston paying a record $13.4 million in penalties.
The Red Sox traded former MVP Mookie Betts and pitcher David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers during the offseason in a move designed to reset their tax bill. Betts will be the marquee free agent available this winter.
Ten free agents received a qualifying offer this offseason, with two accepting the one-year deal.
Meanwhile, the players' latest proposal included an offer to defer salaries if the 2020 season is canceled and playoff revenues are wiped out, sources told Michael Silverman of The Boston Globe.
Players offered to defer $100 million of pre-prorated contracts that are valued at $10 million or higher until November 2021 and 2022. All deferrals would be with interest, according to Silverman.
Owners and players have been at odds in recent weeks while trying to negotiate terms for a shortened 2020. The union countered a league proposal for an 82-game season with a sliding pay scale by asking for prorated salaries over 114 games. MLB is expected to respond with a plan to play only about 50 contests while paying players their prorated salaries.