MLBPA’s Plan to Play Shows Wide Riff With Owners; Shortened Season Counter Coming…

Photo: Brad Penner- USA Today Sports

Are we any closer to an MLB season in 2020? There is plenty of speculation, but the MLBPA hopes that will end with their newest proposal. Under the new proposal, the season would consist of 114 games starting June 30th and ending October 31st. This would be an increase from the 82 games suggested in the previous proposal

The union won’t budge on player salaries, as anticipated, and instead offered owners $100 million in deferrals if the postseason is shortened or canceled. They added the additional stipulation that the playoffs be expanded for both this season and the 2021 season. This represents a switch in how players previously viewed expanded postseason play with rising revenues and stagnant salaries. The proposal also asks for an opt-out for participation of players due to the virus. Those who are deemed “high-risk” would receive salary and others would only rack up service time. 

It makes sense that the union asked for a 32-game increase in the schedule. Players will take as many games as possible due to being paid on a prorated per-game basis. This agreement was made between the league and union back in March.

There is another aspect the players want to change from the league’s proposal. Under the new offering, the next spring training (which could be this month) will see a salary advance of $100 million. Players have already received $170 million in advance to cover the first two months lost due to COVID-19.

However, with the league’s revenue being vastly tied up in playoff media deals, commissioner Rob Manfred’s office and owners have concerns about starting the season but not reaching or completing the playoffs. The union’s proposal asks for contracts of $10 million or above to be deferred if the postseason is canceled with deferred payments coming in November 2021 and November 2022 with interest. 

The players have also agreed to additional stipulations such as broadcast enhancements, in-game microphones, and programming on off-days. With the possibility of an offseason Home Run Derby and All-Star Game and I believe this proposal is a homerun (pun intended). The only reason this wouldn’t be approved and finalized is the owners, who are losing revenue on a per-game basis. Reports say that owners could lose up to $640,000 per game without fans, concessions, parking, and other gameday revenue operations. 

You’ve probably seen the Karen’s of Facebook and Twitter asking why the millionaire players aren’t willing to take a pay cut when the billionaire owners are the ones holding this back. But just remind them they would do the same thing if their salaries were scrupulously cut. Oh, and that they probably have a degree from the University of Phoenix and are likely devoid of any marketable talent. That should get them going.

While some owners are fine foregoing the entirety of the 2020 season, players are pushing hard to ensure that they not only have games played but that they’re paid equitably too. Not only that but I am going absolutely bat-bleep crazy without baseball. Please make this happen.

Note: As of 4:11 PM, the MLB has announced new plans for yet another new proposal and twist to the saga. These parties seriously need to go to couple’s therapy.

Jack Kewitsch | Minnesota Sports Fan