MLBPA Representative Andrew Miller is 'Disappointed' With MLB's Proposal, Optimistic About Negotiations
When Andrew Miller first saw Major League Baseball's economic proposal this week, he was "disappointed."
The former Yankees reliever and current member of the St. Louis Cardinals organization is a representative of the MLBPA, those directly responsible for reviewing the league's proposal.
"We want to play baseball," Miller told Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. "This pandemic is going to have a profound impact on all of us. Players are willing to make sacrifices and surely will to get back on the field. However, we will not sacrifice our principles or the future generations of players to do so."
Within MLB's proposal, amid ongoing negotiations to bring baseball back during the COVID-19 pandemic, the league has proposed that the game's highest-paid players take the biggest pay cuts.
This proposal from the league differs drastically from a previous agreement earlier in the coronavirus-induced hiatus to give players prorated salaries. The sliding scale structure of the proposal also strays from a 50-50 revenue split.
Despite the initial disapproval from Miller and his fellow players union representatives, the left-hander is hopeful that an agreement can be made. After all, both parties in the end have a common goal: for baseball to be played in 2020.
“While I’m disappointed in where MLB is starting the discussion, if this is truly about getting the game to our fans, I have confidence we will find common ground. I know that our players will do their part,” he told Drellich and Rosenthal.
Pursuing common ground is a tall order. All signs point toward the MLBPA rejecting Tuesday's proposal and responding with their own financial plan, but the clock is ticking.
MLB's proposed 82-game season would begin on the first few days of July. With June knocking on the door, each passing day is crucial as this season hangs in the balance.
When it comes to the health and safety side of baseball's present predicament, Miller isn't alone in acknowledging the myriad of protocols set to prevent the virus from spreading within a big league clubhouse.
That means no high fives, no sunflower seeds and chewing tobacco and no spitting, as drawn out in MLB's 67-page memo presented to the players union earlier this month.
But what about the typical concerns of a big leaguer taking the field to start a brand new season?
“They talk about health and safety with the virus," Miller explained to Sports Illustrated's Stephanie Apstein. "But what about our health and safety as players?”
As Apstein points out in her piece highlighting the reactions from MLB veterans to the game's new health and safety standards, Miller has had his fare share of injuries in recent history.
The reliever turned 35 last week and is only one full season removed from missing north of three months due to three separate injuries. For that reason, he tends to get to the ballpark earlier than his teammates to engage in his own extensive warmup routine designed to keep him in shape.
The league encourages usage of team buses rather than individual transportation. He told Apstein he's on board with this aspect of the proposal, joking “I don’t think I’ll be taking the 4 train to Yankee Stadium anyway,” but the widespread changes will certainly make players more susceptible to getting hurt.
Luckily for the Yankees, a roster that was banged up entering what would have been Opening Day in late-March is now nearly healthy across the board. Giancarlo Stanton and James Paxton are both "ready to go" and Aaron Hicks has resumed all baseball activity, taking swings for the first time after Tommy John surgery last fall.
Aaron Judge on the other hand hasn't received a full bill of health just yet – he isn't expected to return until the "summertime" per GM Brian Cashman.
Miller spent less than two full seasons with the Yankees in a span stretching from the spring of 2015 through the summer of 2016. New York dealt the lanky lefty to Cleveland for Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield (a key piece of the Yankees trade to acquire James Paxton from the Mariners.
The left-hander received American League Cy Young Award votes in both those two seasons, the only two times in his 14-year career. In 104 games with the Bombers, Miller posted a 1.77 ERA with 177 strikeouts and 45 saves.
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