Earlier in the week, Major League Baseball sent a proposal to the MLB Players Association. In the proposal, the league suggested that players take tiered paycuts on what will already be a prorated salary for a shortened season.
Such a proposal would result players on the smallest contracts still making most of their prorated salary, while players like Gerrit Cole — who is owed roughly $36 million this year — would make around $9 million.
The players were understandably not pleased with the proposal. They already agreed to paycuts when the coronavirus suspended the season, and believe that the agreed-upon prorated salaries would be paid in full for any games that were played, even without fans.
Long story short, there is next to no chance that a season happens if the league holds firm on their economic proposal. The players have already been vocal about this. They’re the ones assuming the physical risks of playing during a pandemic, and are not willing to get the short end of the stick.
Included in the group of vocal players is superstar Max Scherzer, and former San Francisco Giants center fielder Kevin Pillar.
Please don’t considering me flying around the country, interacting with many people everyday, and just wanting to come home to my wife and kids praying the don’t get sick. No risk on my end. Or just don’t see my family &explain to my 2 year old baseball and work is more important https://t.co/Z3wahXs475— Kevin Pillar (@KPILLAR4) May 27, 2020
Wow so sad. I play the game cause I love it but it’s also my place of work and the way I put food on the table. If you agree with your boss to work for X over the course of Y days, then they said you only have to work half of Y days... should you still be paid half of X? https://t.co/SOQR5bVDAN— Kevin Pillar (@KPILLAR4) May 28, 2020
But it’s not just talk. The Players Association is reportedly planning on sending a counter proposal to the league, which includes the players getting their full prorated salaries, and playing 100 or more games instead of 82, which would result in even more money.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Players Association isn’t buying the data the league showed them that MLB would lose money if they paid players in full.
In a presentation to players, MLB said it would lose a significant amount of money if games are played in 2020 and players receive their full pro rata salary. The union has held firm that a March 27 agreement between the parties ensures the players their prorated share, while the league believes that language in the agreement calls for a good-faith negotiation in the event that games are played in empty stadiums.
The union remains skeptical of the data the league shared that showed significant losses across the sport and recently submitted additional document requests to the league in search of information about local television revenue, national television revenue, sponsorship revenue and projections from teams.
The two sides are very far apart, and right now it’s unclear how much either side is willing to compromise. It could be that neither side is willing to budge at all, or it could be that both sides are posturing a bit as a negotiation tactic.
Either way, there’s no reason for the players to play until it feels fair and safe to do so, and for now we’re a ways away from that.