With Major League Baseball's season perpetually in limbo due to the coronavirus shutdown, the league and the players' association face myriad logistical issues to iron out before play resumes.
One is how service time will be calculated if there's a shortened or canceled campaign.
The players' union reportedly wants its members to accrue a full year of service time even if no games are played, according to Ronald Blum of The Associated Press.
The league is reportedly proposing a full year be credited if 130 games are played instead of the usual 162, and proportional service time for an even shorter campaign. No decision has been reached, and the two sides continue to negotiate.
Later Thursday, a source clarified to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic that the MLBPA's proposal is not for all players to earn a year of service time. Rather, the union wants players who earned a specific number of days in 2019 to get the extra year, according to Rosenthal.
Typically, a player needs to accrue six years of service time on the 26-man roster before reaching free agency, and three-plus years are required to gain eligibility for salary arbitration. Normally, a full year of service time is 172 days, and the regular season generally consists of 187 days.
That setup has led to one of the more contentious topics in baseball lately: service-time manipulation. Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant became a high-profile example of that front-office strategy, and he recently lost a grievance against his team.
Bryant was seeking an extra year of service time because the Cubs kept him in Triple-A for the first two weeks of the 2015 season, even after he posted dominant spring numbers. The delay prevented him from being eligible for free agency until 2021 instead of 2020.
In addition to service-time considerations, the league and the union are discussing whether to cancel the 2020 amateur draft. Playing the season remains on the table, but there's no specific timeframe for a return.