It’s strike two for MLB owners – one more strike and it’s game over for the MLB baseball season as it continues to be in limbo land.
Attempts at reconciling differences of opinion on who should carry the brunt of the economic impact from the coronavirus-caused shutdown – owners or players – has led to a virtual stand-off between both sides, and the latest economic proposal presented to players has been shot down with both barrels.
The recommendations the owners wanted, which would have included a sliding salary scale that could have had some players earning only 20% of their regular pay, were rejected, and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) is prepared to make its own presentation. The odds are good that, if the recommendations are rejected, Americas Pastime in 2020 may not happen.
Baseball Limbo As No Means No In All Circles
The MLBPA had already asserted that no salary reductions were going to be accepted, but owners tried, anyway. They wanted players to take cuts of anywhere from 50-80%, arguing that the teams couldn’t cover the salaries if no fans were allowed to attend games. The union cried foul and has planted its feet squarely, just like Ted Williams in the batter’s box.
Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals pitcher and member of the MLBPA executive committee, reiterated the fact that no means no and that no salary renegotiation’s are going to be accepted. He said on Twitter yesterday, “After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions. We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received. I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.”
MLBPA Has Its Own Take On How Things Will Proceed
With it clear that there’s no room for talk on salary, the MLBPA is preparing its own version of an economic plan to restart the season, which had to be called off just ahead of Opening Day in March. However, what many are willing to accept is a deferred salary that would be paid at a later date once the league is able to get back on its feet.
There is also talk of changing the number of games held during the regular season, possibly holding it at around 100 in an attempt to help with the recovery. There will be other points added to the mix of recommendations when the union sends its proposal to owners later this week, but the details of what may be included have not yet been released.
The idea of extending the season will most likely not be met with a lot of enthusiasm on the part of the owners. First, a shorter regular season means a quicker entry into the playoffs, where the teams typically make more money. Additionally, many owners fear that the coronavirus may come back around to make another run on the country, which would force the games to be halted once again. Because of these concerns, if the MLBPA’s rumored proposals are submitted, there’s a good chance owners will reject the plan leaving baseball in limbo, and this could lead to the end of professional baseball in the US this year.
Opinions Are Coming Out Of Left Field
Everyone seems to want to weigh in on the situation, even when they don’t really need to. High-profile sports agent Scott Boras seemed to voice support for players when he sent an email encouraging them not to accept a salary offer. He said in his correspondence, “Remember, games cannot be played without you. Players should not agree to further pay cuts to bail out the owners. Let owners take some of their record revenues and profits from the past several years and pay you the prorated salaries you agreed to accept or let them borrow against the asset values they created from the use of those profits players generated.”
However, not all MLB players were happy with the attempting morale boost. Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer took to Twitter yesterday to voice his distaste for the unwanted (and possibly misguided) intervention, asserting, “Hearing a LOT of rumors about a certain player agent meddling in MLBPA affairs. If true — and at this point, these are only rumors — I have one thing to say … Scott Boras, rep your clients however you want to, but keep your damn personal agenda out of union business.”