On Tuesday, Major League Baseball sent their economic proposal to the Players Association (MLBPA) to kick off a pivotal week of negotiations between the two sides. Unfortunately, any optimism that built up over the past several days came crashing down.
According to The Athletic's Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal, the players union was "very disappointed" with the economic proposal from Major League Baseball.
Instead of building their proposal around a 50-50 revenue split, MLB's economic proposal included all players taking additional pay cuts from the prorated salaries the MLBPA agreed to back in March. The highest-paid players would receive larger cuts while the lowest-paid players would receive lesser cuts, earning close to their full-season salary. According to Drellich and Rosenthal, MLB also offered to share postseason revenue.
According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, the proposal has some of the highest-paid players in baseball receiving less than 40% of their full-season salaries. MLB Network's Jon Heyman reports more drastic cuts for the highest-paid stars like Mike Trout, Gerrit Cole, and Justin Verlander, which could be between 20-30 percent of their full-season salaries.
ESPN's Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers broke down the different tiers of pay cuts under the MLB proposal to the players union.
The players union views these pay cuts as "massive," and to pour salt on the wound, the two sides are still far apart on health and safety protocols, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.
It didn't take long for some players to share their dissatisfaction on social media.
When the first day of negotiations witnesses a high level of pessimism, it's easy to jump to the conclusion that the two sides may not work things out. While time is not a luxury for either side, this is the first day and the first official offer from either side involving money.
That being said, this is a terrible look for baseball. On the same day, several scouts for the Oakland Athletics were told they were being furloughed after the MLB Draft. According to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, the Los Angeles Dodgers also told their full-time employees that tiered salary cuts were coming June 1.
Also on Tuesday, the National Hockey League announced their return-to-play plans, which only await external hurdles like COVID-19 conditions, testing ability, and government regulations. Both the NHL and NHL Players Association have signed off on these plans.
It's simple: baseball cannot afford another war over money. Millions of unemployed Americans watching millionaires fight with billionaires over money — all while MLB clubs are forced to cut pay or furlough their full-time employees — is a terrible, terrible look for the game.
All hope is not lost for the 2020 season. But after a swing-and-miss on day one of negotiations, both sides need to develop a higher sense of urgency. The longer this thing drags out, the uglier it's going to get.
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