05/26 20:36 CDT Players call MLB economic proposal `extremely disappointing'
Players call MLB economic proposal `extremely disappointing'
By RONALD BLUM
AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) --- A rookie at the major league minimum would make a higher
percentage of his salary than multimillionaire stars like Mike Trout or Gerrit
Cole under a six-tier, sliding-scale proposal by big league teams that players
found "extremely disappointing."
Major League Baseball made the proposal to the players' union on Tuesday during
a digital meeting rather than the 50-50 revenue-sharing plan that owners
initially approved for their negotiators on May 11, two people familiar with
the plan told The Associated Press. The people spoke on condition of anonymity
because the details were not announced.
In addition, the union said "the sides also remain far apart on health and
safety protocols" aimed at starting the pandemic-delayed season around the
Fourth of July.
"We made a proposal to the union that is completely consistent with the
economic realities facing our sport," MLB said in a statement. "We look forward
to a responsive proposal from the MLBPA."
The revenue-sharing plan earlier this month was met with immediate hostility
from the union the day owners gave their negotiators the go-ahead. That plan
was not presented to players when talks began the following day.
During that session, MLB gave the union a presentation claiming billions of
dollars of anticipated losses and held off making a proposal for two weeks.
Salaries in the major leagues range from $563,500 at the minimum to $36 million
each for Trout, the three-time MVP outfielder on the Los Angeles Angels, and
Cole, the pitcher signed by the New York Yankees as a free agent this offseason.
According to a study by the AP, 369 of 899 players have salaries of $600,000 or
less, according to the rosters frozen in March.
Under MLB's proposal, the playoffs would expand from 10 teams to 14 and players
would receive more money if the postseason is played. Usually, salaries are
earned during the regular season only and players receive money from the
postseason pool, a maximum of about $382,000 last year for a full share on
World Series champion Washington.
Players agreed March 26 to a deal in which they would receive prorated shares
of their salaries based on what percentage of each team's 162-game schedule is
played. In exchange, players were guaranteed that if no games are played they
would receive service time for 2020 matching what they accrued in 2019.
MLB told the union on May 12 it hoped to play a season with an 82-game schedule
that would have teams play 13 games against each division rival and six against
every club in the corresponding division in the other league: AL East vs. NL
East, for example.
Several governors have said teams are welcome to play in their regular-season
ballparks but without fans due to the new coronavirus and mandates for social
distancing. MLB told the union during the May 12 presentation if teams paid
players prorated salaries the clubs would combine to have negative $3.58
billion earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.
Players were scheduled to earn about $4 billion in salary this year. Many
players and union leadership have said the March 26 agreement would stand and
no additional salary should be given up. Tampa Bay Rays All-Star pitcher Blake
Snell , the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner, said he would not take the mound
this year if his pay is cut further, proclaiming: "I'm not playing unless I get
Teams are worried about being at risk if a second wave of the virus causes
cancellation of the postseason, which results in MLB receiving $787 million in
broadcast revenue this year.
There is room for maneuvering in the economic negotiations, but no commitment
on what areas to delve into.
Players could propose a longer regular season, which would result in receiving
a higher percentage of their salary in the initial calculation of cuts. For
instance, increasing to 94 games would reduce the initial cut from 49.4% to
42%. That could be accomplished by adding a week, inserting a few additional
doubleheaders and eliminating a couple of off days.
In addition, the sides could start to address next offseason's market for
spending on free agents and players eligible for arbitration. The union could
propose suspending the luxury tax for 2020 and 2021, which in theory would give
the higher-revenue teams more money to spend, and to eliminate the loss of
amateur draft picks for clubs signing qualified free agents.
Lower-revenue clubs would want something in return. One possibility would be to
give them additional competitive balance-round picks in amateur drafts, where a
pick in the 42-52 range overall yields prospects with slot values of $1.4
million to $1.8 million who have a better chance historically of becoming big
As protection to teams against a lost postseason, salaries could be deferred
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