The negotiations between MLB and the MLBPA have been contentious, to say the least. That isn’t likely to change after the MLBPA’s latest proposal.
Tony Clark and the MLBPA have submitted their counter-proposal to MLB. It’s clear that lines are being drawn in the sand. According to Evan Drellich of The Athletic, the players proposed a raise in salary from their previous deal, salary protections for players who want to opt-out of playing in 2020, and a longer season.
Source: MLBPA delivered its proposal to the league on Sunday afternoon.
ª Schedule: 114 games, June 30-Oct. 31
• Two years of expanded playoffs
• $100 million of total deferred money
• Opt out for all players if they don’t want to play
— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) June 1, 2020
These are almost all non-starters with the MLB. The 114-game season won’t happen. MLB has no interest in pushing the postseason into November. They fear the cold weather could lead to a re-emergence of COVID-19 that could put the playoffs in jeopardy. The owners aren’t willing to risk the postseason and the revenue it would provide as opposed to more regular-season games.
Player salaries are the most contentious issue. The players don’t believe they should have to take another hit after already agreeing to prorated salaries with huge cuts in March. The owners say that they can’t afford to operate without the salary cuts.
The MLBPA requested proof that would back the owners’ claims, but they didn’t receive any. This is a sticking point for the players. If they’re going to put their lives on the line they want to be paid appropriately. According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, that means seeking a 20% raise in their prorated salaries from the previously agreed-upon amount.
In players proposal, they move to 70 percent of pay as opposed to the 51 percent they’d get at prorated pay over 82 games. So, monetarily speaking, players actually moved in the opposite direction. The only conclusion you can draw is they just feel like they have the upper hand.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 1, 2020
The newest wrinkle is that the players want salary guarantees for players who opt to sit out the season. The guarantees are meant to help players who can’t play due to them or their close family having pre-existing conditions or high-risk factors.
In the MLBPA’s eyes, they are making two big concessions in this proposal. First, they are allowing for an expanded postseason. MLB loves the playoffs because it generates a ton of revenue. It’s a huge moneymaker for all franchises who reach those heights.
They’re even willing to extend the expanded postseason into 2021. That means seven teams from each league making the postseason could become the new normal starting from 2020.
The other concession is deferred salaries. If the playoffs are postponed, then the MLBPA is willing to allow those salaries to be prorated and paid out in the spring. That’s the closest thing to a middle ground on salaries that anyone’s seen so far.
With both MLB and the MLBPA hoping to see games being by the end of June, an agreement will have to come quickly. Expect a whirlwind of negotiations in the coming week. Both sides want a season and they want it sooner than later.
These negotiations have just started. there’s a long way to go, but expect some sort of agreement to come relatively soon.