At this point in time, the details surrounding MLB and the MLBPA’s negotiations for the return of baseball in 2020 are starting to blend together. The short version of the story has been that MLB has contended that the deal reached in March regarding player salaries was contingent on fans being in attendance and that their side has favored fewer games as their contention is that every game played will result in significant losses for owners. The players, on the other hand, have disputed that the March agreement was contingent on having fans in place and have favored larger slates of games at full prorated rates. The players have also openly disputed the league’s claims about the level of losses in revenues they would incur and have been rebuffed when asking repeatedly to see the owners’ books for proof. While this author tends to believe more of the players’ perspective on these matters, the truth likely resides somewhere in the middle between the two.
With the owners flat out rejecting the players’ proposal of a schedule of over 100 games and saying they weren’t even going to counter that proposal and instead try to force the issue on a season closer to 50 games, it was unclear as to whether or not we were ever going to get baseball this season as the sides were just so far apart on the financials and logistics. That leads us to this morning’s development.
MLB has made proposal to Players. 75 percent Prorated salary. 76 game season. Playoff pool money. No draft pick compensation for signing player. Season finishes September 27th. Post season ends at end of October. Significant move towards players demands and effort to play more.— Karl Ravech (@karlravechespn) June 8, 2020
Now it is a little weird that the league would say point blank that they were not going send a counteroffer, float the idea of a 50 game season, and then send this proposal although the earlier statements may have simply being setting expectations low so that this proposal looked better from an optics perspective.
While it is important to note that the we haven’t done the math on the degree of what the league’s proposal actually means for player salaries vs. the March agreement and we don’t have all of the details of the proposal either, MLBPA has already had something to say on the subject and the early returns are not great.
The #MLBPA considers #MLB's latest offer a "step backwards''. They guaranteed 50% pay with possibility of earning 75% prorated salary. Also in proposal, per @karlravechespn, 76-game season, playoff money and no draft pick compensation for free agency.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 8, 2020
The no free agent draft pick compensation is an important concession and similar give-backs to players could be the framework for discussions with players, but Nightengale’s reporting that the 75% is not guaranteed is likely the biggest sticking point for the union is already not wanting to move off the prorated amount they agreed to this spring.
In short, if we are closer to having baseball return in 2020, it is only very slightly closer because the sides are talking but are still very far apart. However, at least they are still talking.