Rob Manfred Talks MLB's Return to Play Proposal, COVID-19 Testing, More

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 15, 2020

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred answers questions at a press conference during MLB baseball owners meetings, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred went on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 and discussed numerous topics related to the league's potential return in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, including testing, the owners' return-to-play proposal and more.  

In regards to testing, Manfred said the plan is to test players multiple times per week.

Anderson Cooper 360° @AC360

“All of our players would be tested multiple times a week” for coronavirus, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says on the efforts to bring baseball back. “That testing would be supplemented less frequently by antibody testing as well.” #CNNTownHall https://t.co/zU95g1FwYr https://t.co/J1MKyc5AJ0

ESPN's Jeff Passan outlined more details on the testing plan:

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred outlined the league's testing plan in an interview on CNN. - Testing multiple times a week for players using a facility in Utah that MLB helped convert to a COVID-testing lab. Return time on tests is 24 hours - Instant testing for symptomatic players

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

- Those who test positive will be quarantined until they test negative twice - Those who have been in contact with positive tests will have instant testing as well

And John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia relayed Manfred's comments on a hypothetical scenario in which a player does not feel safe enough to return to the diamond:

John Clark @JClarkNBCS

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on CNN says players would be tested multiple times a week “We hope we will be able to convince them that it’s safe. If there are players with health conditions or players with doubts, we will not force them to come back to work” https://t.co/M6VBBOFTKW

As far as hashing out a deal with the MLBPA on beginning the 2020 season, Manfred expressed optimism, per Jon Heyman of WFAN Sports Radio 660 and MLB Network: 

Jon Heyman @JonHeyman

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred just said on CNN said he has “great confidence” they’ll be able to work out a deal with the players union.

That has been a sticking point in recent days, with MLBPA President Tony Clark and a few MLB players (namely the Cincinnati Reds' Trevor Bauer and the Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell) all criticizing the owners' plan, particularly a 50-50 revenue split for 2020.

Cancellation of the 2020 season doesn't seem far-fetched given MLBPA and player comments following the proposal.

Of note, ESPN's Jeff Passan wrote on Tuesday that the worst-case scenario at this juncture involves the entire season being wiped out because of a difference in opinion over money.

A lost season would be devastating for MLB, with Manfred saying team owners could lose $4 billion in total.

Billions in revenue are already down the drain as fans are not expected back at ballparks this year. As Elliott Morss of Morss Global Finance reported, the 30 MLB clubs brought in $2.26 billion in revenue just from the gate.

Ultimately, the season may appear on the brink, but Passan warned against being a "prisoner of the moment," as well:

"So here's a little advice. Don't get too hung up on this week. It's easy to be a prisoner of the moment, to get high when it looks like baseball is coming back, to get low when the conversation turns to money. This is the beginning, and the beginning can be complicated and tumultuous and not particularly reflective of the actual state of play.

"That's coming soon enough. And when it does, it will say as much about the future of baseball as it does the present."

MLB announced that its season would be delayed on March 12, marking the first time in the league's history that the beginning of a campaign was pushed back for any reason other than labor strife.