Report: Recent MLB Proposal Includes Pay Cuts to Highest-Paid Players

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MLB has proposed decreasing the salaries of the highest-paid players in the sport with the lowest-paid players taking lesser cuts in its recent play-resumption economic proposal to the MLB Players Association, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers. 

Per ESPN, the sport's highest-paid players would take significant reductions to what they would be paid during a full season if the plan is approved. The cuts could eventually see highly paid players receive less than 40% of their full-season salaries.

According to The Athletic's Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal, the league has also offered to share more playoff revenue with MLB players, but the MLBPA is reportedly "very disappointed" with the proposal. 

Six players in MLB were expected to make more than $35 million in salary this season, including Mike Trout ($37.7 million), Gerrit Cole ($36 million) and Max Scherzer ($35.9 million). This past offseason, Cole broke the record for the largest total contract value for a pitcher in inking a new deal with the Yankees. 

Per ESPN, the cuts would take the following form:

  • A player who makes $563,500 in a full season, would make $262,000
  • A player who makes $5 million in a full season, would make $2.64 million
  • A player who makes $10 million in a full season, would make $2.95 million
  • A player who makes $20 million in a full season, would make $5.15 million
  • A player who makes $30 million in a full season, would make $6.95 million
  • A player who makes $35 million in a full season, would make $7.84 million

As first reported by USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the plan sent out to the MLBPA on Tuesday does not include the same 50-50 revenue-sharing split that owners agreed to two weeks ago. 

In March, owners agreed that, in the event of a partial season, that players' salary would be prorated based on games played. In return, the players agreed not to file a grievance for the full money in their contracts. But the aforementioned economic agreements appears to be up for debate. 

As it pertains to other issues regarding the sport's resumption, on May 16, MLB reportedly sent a proposal to the MLBPA outlining the league's health and safety protocols for COVID-19 testing, facility guidelines and on-field operations.

The proposal reportedly said all players, managers, coaches, umpires and some support staff members would be tested regularly, as Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci reported. All players would undergo an "intake screening" when they arrive at camp. The Athletic reported that the screening will include a temperature check with a contactless thermometer and body fluid and blood samples.

The proposal also includes numerous protocols to keep players safe during games. New balls would be used each time one is put in play and touched by multiple players. Players would not be allowed to spit or use smokeless tobacco and sunflower seeds. Lineup cards would not be distributed in-person and non-playing personnel must wear masks in the dugout at all times.

As Sports Illustrated's Stephanie Apstein noted on Tuesday, while players are mixed in their reaction to the health and safety proposal, most seem to agree with Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon, who told Sports Illustrated that some of the details bother him, "but at the same time, I'm not going to be stubborn and not adapt and make a big stink of it such that we miss out on games because of my personal feelings."

MLB was originally scheduled to begin its regular season two months ago, on March 26, but delayed the start of its campaign amid the coronavirus pandemic.