If Season is Canceled Players Will be Blamed -- But Is That Deserved?
With the days disappearing before teams would need to create some type of a training camp to allow MLB to open its regular-season 4th of July weekend, there is reason to question how serious Major League Baseball is about having a season of any length in 2020.
The owner representatives and Major League Baseball Players Association agreed in late March that players salaries would be tied to the number of games played, which in the case of a proposed 82-game regular season schedule -- 80 games fewer than normal -- would mean players would receive 50.6 percent of the value of their contracts for 2020.
Now, however, with an end to the lockdown in sight, teams are looking for bigger concessions -- claiming their losses will be more than originally expected because games, at least initially, would be played without fans in the stands, and therefore they want the players to take even bigger salary cuts.
The MLPBA has shown no interest in the revision of the deal the two sides agreed to slightly more than two months ago.
Bottom line is there was every expectation in March that when the season opened it would likely be without fans. And while the owners claim the two sides agreed to revisit the salary situation when the time came there is no indication of that in the agreement the leadership of the MLBPA and MLB signed.
And while the corona virus will be blamed for what is happening now in the game, but let's be honest. The owners and players have been able to work their way through a variety of issues in the last 25 years, which is why there has not been a work stoppage since the strike that stretch from 1994-95.
So what's changed?
Nothing, really -- except the makeup of ownership. Only nine franchises have ownership that was around when that players strike began on Aug. 10, 1994 and play did not resume until the final days of April 1995. It wiped out the 1994 post-season, the only time since 1904 that a World Series was not played.
The ownership groups that have survived the game's last cancellation -- Rockies, Orioles, White Sox, Tigers, Twins, Yankees, Phillies, Giants and Mariners.
There is believed to be a strong coalition of owners who want to cancel this season, but they want to create a scenario that would make the players the bad guys for refusing to accept the revised proposal to cut salaries. They feel that given anticipated restriction of attendance at games, their losses will be less without a season than with a partial season.
And they, for some reason, don't mind throwing their product -- the players -- under the bus to take the onus off themselves.
Do understand that if the season is canceled, MLB players are not paid.
It also is worth noting that in 2018, salaries for the 40-man rosters of the 30 teams represented 46 percent of the game's reported revenues of $10.3 billion, according to Forbes, and over the last 15 years salaries have accounted for 48 percent to 52 percent of the game's revenue, which is less than the percentage in the NFL, NBA and NHL.
There are 12 franchises that have yet to furlough or lay off full-time employees, although several of the organizations have reduced salaries for certain staff members.
Where the 30 teams stand on staff, according to Baseball America:
Braves: To be announced.
Orioles: To be announced.
Yankees: To be announced
Royals: No layoffs or furloughs. Tiered pay cuts for executives
Rockies: Employment guaranteed with full salaries and no furloughs. No end date announced.
Nationals: No layoffs through Oct. 31. Full-time employees receive between a 10 to 30 percent reduction in hours and pay.
Brewers: Employment guaranteed with no furloughs through end of the season. Pay cuts for top executives and major league staff.
Blue Jays: Employment guaranteed with no furloughs through October 1. Pay cuts for some employees based on salary.
Mariners: Employment guaranteed with no furloughs through October. Pay cuts of at least 20 percent for those making more than $60,000.
Giants: Full-time staffers guaranteed employment with no furloughs through September. Pay cuts for those making more than $75,000.
D-backs: Baseball operations "largely untouched" by furloughs or layoffs. Tiered pay cuts averaging 15 percent for remaining staff.
Padres: Employment guaranteed with no furloughs through October. Pay cuts for highest-earning staff members.
Phillies: Employment guaranteed with no furloughs through October.
Pirates: No furloughs in baseball operations. Unspecified pay cuts for executive staff and pay cuts of between 5 and 25 percent for remaining employees.
Tigers:Employment guaranteed with full salaries and no furloughs. No end date announced.
Twins: Employment guaranteed with full salaries and no furloughs through end of June.
White Sox: Employment guaranteed with full salaries and no furloughs through end of June.
Mets: Pay cuts for all full-time employees begin June 1. Pay cuts range from 5 to 30 percent based on salary.
Reds: Furloughs for under 25 percent of employees begin June 1. Unspecified pay cuts for additional staff members.
Rangers: Pay cuts ranging from 10 to 20 percent for about half of full-time employees instituted May 15.
Cardinals: Employment guaranteed with full salaries and no furloughs through end of June.
Indians: Full-time staffers guaranteed employment with no furloughs through June. Voluntary salary reductions for senior staff members.
Cubs: Employment guaranteed with no furloughs through end of June. Pay cuts for staff members based on compensation.
Angels: Furloughs for most staff, including minor league coaches and amateur and pro scouts, begin June 1. Crosscheckers will be furloughed starting June 16.
Astros: Full pay and benefits guaranteed through June 5.
Marlins: Furloughs for 40 percent of staff, about 90-100 employees, begin June 1.
Rays: Furloughs began May 1. Pay cuts of at least 10 percent for all remaining staff making above an unspecified amount.
It is worth nothing that the Marlins are the only franchise in MLB that does not have a 2020 value of at least $1 billion, according to Forbes.
Meanwhile, the Cubs, who rank fourth in terms of team value, and Cardinals, who rank seventh, have guaranteed no furloughs for only the month of June. the Astros, whose value ranks 11th among the 30 teams, has assured employees of full pay and benefits only through Friday.