MLBPA reportedly intends to propose longer 2020 season, won’t yield on prorated salary

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The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) does not seem inclined to give any further ground on salaries for the 2020 season. However, players will reportedly propose playing a longer season than the 82-game slate under consideration because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic reported on what’s likely to be the union’s forthcoming proposal to MLB ownership. They write: 

The Players Association plans to respond to Major League Baseball’s request for additional pay cuts by insisting players receive their full prorated salaries and proposing a schedule of longer than 82 games, according to sources with knowledge of the union’s thinking.

The players reinforced their unity in two separate calls involving player leadership Wednesday, the first consisting of the union’s eight-man executive sub-committee, the second involving a larger group that included a number of team representatives.

In March, players agreed to prorate their 2020 salaries based on the number of games played during the 2020 season. The MLBPA is of the position that the matter of compensation was put to rest with that agreement. Owners, however, interpret the agreement as allowing them to reopen negotiations to reflect the strong likelihood that fans will not be allowed to attend games for some or all of the season, which would mean the loss of gate receipts and concession and parking revenues. Owners floated a 50-50 revenue split via leaked documents, but players quite understandably objected. Players then floated the idea of deferring part of the salaries due, while owners proposed some salary reductions that would hit the highest-paid players the hardest. The union took umbrage at that revised proposal, which brings us to Rosenthal’s and Drellich’s report.

Also on Wednesday night, Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer tweeted that there is “no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions.” This again reflects the union’s position that compensation for 2020 was a settled matter as of the March agreement. Scherzer further called on MLB to release the relevant financials that would show the extent of projected revenue losses for 2020. Almost all MLB franchises are privately held, which means they’re under no legal obligation to release accurate financial information or open their books for forensic accounting. 

While there’s still time for an agreement to be reached and adhere to the early July target date for a start of the regular season, the days are ticking by — also bear in mind that a restart of spring training will be necessary to get players into game shape. On another level, the positions of the two sides seem to be increasingly entrenched. 





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