Why More Pay Cuts Will End Hopes of MLB in 2020
Feb 27, 2020; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
With the latest financial proposal by the MLB owners, the MLBPA has never been further apart in talks with the league.
While everyone will feel the fiscal effects of the coronavirus outbreak, the MLBPA will not agree to any more pay cuts. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the owners’ newest plan was unanimously denied by the players.
Potential salary cuts in MLB plan, sources tell @JesseRogersESPN and me:
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 26, 2020
With a lot of significant players taking huge hits in salary, players were outspoken about their thoughts of the plan. Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer, who is also one of eight players on the MLBPA subcommittee, made it clear that the players were done talking reductions in pay.
— Max Scherzer (@Max_Scherzer) May 28, 2020
The MLB has proposed playing in front of no fans in games starting the first week in July, though that timeline could be pushed back if labor discussions stretch on and postpone spring training 2.0 starting in mid-June.
While any hope of having baseball in 2020 is dissolving, this is still one of the most pivotal weeks in baseball since the 1994 lockout. In a presentation to players, the league said it would lose a significant amount of money if games are played in 2020, and players receive their full prorated salary.
The MLBPA is planning to send a counteroffer that will most likely see no more pay cuts from the agreement both sides made in March. The union remains skeptical of the information that the MLB shared that showed significant losses across the sport and recently submitted additional document requests to the league in search of information about local and national television revenue, sponsorship revenue and projections from teams.
While players are speaking out, baseball’s super-agent Scott Boras has told his clients to not “bail out” baseball owners. In an email obtained by the Associated Press, Boras told his clients “Remember, games cannot be played without you.”
“Players should not agree to further pay cuts to bail out the owners,” Boras said to his clients. “Let owners take some of their record revenues and profits from the past several years and pay you the prorated salaries you agreed to accept or let them borrow against the asset values they created from the use of those profits players generated.”
Boras represents 71 MLB clients and negotiated $1.2 billion in contracts last offseason.
“Owners are asking for more salary cuts to bail them out of the investment decisions they have made,” Boras said. “If this was just about baseball, playing games would give the owners enough money to pay the players their full prorated salaries and run the baseball organization. The owners’ current problem is a result of the money they borrowed when they purchased their franchises, renovated their stadiums, or developed land around their ballparks. This type of financing is allowed and encouraged by MLB because it has resulted in significant franchise valuations.”
With a lot of moving pieces to follow, this story, as well as the season is far from being decided. With other major sports leagues planning on opening back up soon, the world watches as Major League Baseball struggles to get any sort of momentum going towards a 2020 season.