MLB players union won’t accept another pay cut as part of abbreviated season
Players want to play and are ready to play, but they won’t take another pay cut to play a 2020 season.
That was the message MLB Players’ Assn. executive director Tony Clark communicated in a statement Thursday after union leadership and more than 100 players held a virtual meeting to discuss their response to the league’s intention to hold a season with as few as 50 games.
“The overwhelming consensus of the board is that players are ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions that could affect the health and safety of not just themselves, but their families as well,” Clark said in the statement. “The league’s demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected.”
The declaration came a day after the league rejected the MLBPA’s proposal to play a 114-game regular season with pro-rated salaries and vowed not to make a counteroffer. The league says it cannot play a season with that many games unless players take significant pay cuts because of revenue losses with no spectators at games.
“In this time of unprecedented suffering at home and abroad, players want nothing more than to get back to work and provide baseball with the game we all love,” Clark said. “But we cannot do this alone.”
For this one bizarre summer, let’s embrace the crazy with a 50-game Major League Baseball regular season, followed by a 22-team tournament.
This chapter of friction between the two sides stems from differing interpretations of the agreement they made two weeks after the coronavirus outbreak suspended league operations March 12.
The parties agreed to players receiving prorated salaries for any games played in 2020. The owners insisted the language did not account for games played without fans, which is expected to be mandatory to launching a season. They have claimed the financial losses would not be worth playing the games. In response, the players have demanded more evidence of that assertion. A stalemate has resulted.
MLB discussed a 50-50 revenue-sharing plan but didn’t formally propose it after considerable blow back. The players saw the structure as a salary cap, which they have vowed not to allow implemented. Instead, the league formally launched the back-and-forth with an 82-game proposal featuring tiered pay cuts.
The union rejected that plan, calculating that it would cut salaries another 30% and that the owners were pitting the highest-paid players against the lowest-paid players. The MLBPA responded with the 114-game proposal, with a few concessions such as expanded playoffs in the next two seasons and salary deferrals.
That was quickly rejected. In response, the league appears willing to pay players prorated salaries but only for a drastically shortened season. The league believes the March agreement, which states that MLB must make “the best effort” to play as many games as possible, gives commissioner Rob Manfred the authority to impose a schedule with however many games he believes is optimal.
As of now, the owners insist it’s around 50 games. The players don’t agree.
“Important work remains to be done in order to safely resume the season,” Clark said. “We stand ready to complete that work and look forward to getting back on the field.”
MLB owners and players have little time to save the 2020 baseball season amid the coronavirus outbreak. Lack of trust seems to be a big factor.
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