"As we have previously said publicly, we will continue to consult with public health authorities, medical experts, and the Players Association whether any schedule modifications to the announced start of Spring Training and the Championship Season should be made in light of the current COVID-19 environment to ensure the safety of the players, coaches, umpires, Major League Baseball employees and other gameday personnel in a sport that plays every day", Major League Baseball said in a statement Monday.
Binsbacher's letter, which was co-signed by six mayors, two city managers and a president of a tribal community, cited the Phoenix area's high COVID-19 infection rate and a model that "projects a sharp decline in infections in Arizona by mid-March".
Multiple news outlets published copies of the letter on social media.
In a letter to Commissioner Rob Manfred, the Cactus League task force suggested it maybe safer to open spring training in mid-March.
"Although we have not received any communication directly, the MLBPA is aware of a letter that has been distributed today by the Cactus League Association".
The league, in a statement, said: "As we have previously said publicly, we will continue to consult with public health authorities, medical experts and the players association whether any schedule modifications to the announced start of spring training and the championship season should be made in light of the current COVID-19 environment to ensure the safety of the players, coaches, umpires, MLB employees and other gameday personnel in a sport that plays every day".
"As leaders charged with protecting public health, and as committed, longtime partners in the spring training industry, we want you to know that we stand united on this point", the letter reads. And spring training isn't Arizona's call.
The union hasn't made a counterproposal, deciding instead not to discuss the matter further when it became apparent an agreement was contingent on including an expanded postseason, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports.
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention database, Arizona has the highest rate of weekly rate of infection among the 50 states at 95.1 cases per 100,000 people. The L.A. Times' Bill Shaikin reported recently that Arizona expects out-of-state visitors to spend $168 million during spring training - even a shortened one.
Major League Baseball owners have been rumored to prefer a delayed start. Many free agents are waiting until there is an official decision before signing as the number of teams interested in them would change if there is a DH in the National League.
There is still time until the start of Spring Training, so nothing is set in stone yet as there will be more negotiations to come. Last season's schedule was reduced to 60 games because of the virus, It caused players to be paid on a prorated bases on a traditional 162 games season.