Last week, the owners’ initial offer was made public, and it wasn’t one the players were fond of. In fact, stars such as Max Scherzer spoke out so sternly against it that it made many wonder how realistic a baseball season in 2020 really is, and understandably so.
The deal put together by the owners laid out an 82-game schedule, forcing the best players (like Scherzer) to take the most significant pay cuts. According to Ken Rosenthal, a $35 million a year player would have to take home a salary of less than $8 million. In other words — not worth it, and there’s no chance the players accept anything close to that. The Nationals ace went as far as to say the MLBPA wasn’t even going to acknowledge the offer or return with a counter. However, that was only one step to the negotiations, and despite Scherzer’s reaction, the MLBPA has come up with something in return. Here is what they proposed:
• Deferral would be ONLY if the postseason is canceled. Would apply to contracts of $10 million above (before being prorated). Payments would be in November 2021 and 2022.
• Either way, players would get additional salary advance during spring training camp of $100 million.
— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) June 1, 2020
This offer is miles different and much more player-friendly. One thing the MLBPA will be fighting for is a schedule longer than 82 games, which will obviously mean more money for the players. Another interesting aspect is an opt-out for any player that does not feel the risk is worth it. On top of that, the players are asking for an expanded playoff, not just in 2020, but in 2021 as well. But just like the MLBPA’s response to the owners’ initial offer, the owners referred to their counter as a “non starter” —according to Jon Heyman.
In March, the two sides came to an agreement, with the owners offering pro-rated salaries for the number of games they ended up playing. Because the owners later found out the entire season will likely be taking place without fans, they reneged on that offer. Right now, the two parties are heading in opposite directions.
The owners offer significantly lowered the 50% the players would have made over an 82-game condensed season — based on their agreement in March, while the players would make substantially more — around 70% of their full salaries — under their proposed deal. That’s not ideal when considering both sides are hoping to have this resolved in the coming week. In the players’ proposal, their start date is scheduled for June 30th, and they want a three-week spring training before that, meaning somewhere around June 10th is a soft deadline for an agreement. That’s still quite a bit of time, but each party will have to compromise substantially if we are to have baseball in 2020.
Luckily, it does nobody any good if there is not a season. As long as there isn’t a spike in coronavirus cases in the coming weeks, something should be put together that both sides can tolerate.