As we have been discussing all week, Major League Baseball owners are expected to formally present a proposal to the MLB Players Association this week outlining how the 2020 season will look. Nothing has been presented thus far, but we have heard about many of the issues that will be covered including player pay, a universal designated hitter rule, and health and safety measures.
The issue of player pay as well as the overall health and safety measures that will be taken have been subject to a bit of controversy. The owners reportedly want to go back on the deal they agreed to with the union back in March, which reduced the players’ pay on a prorated basis.
Former MLB player and current ESPN analyst Mark Teixeira went on ESPN’s show Get Up with Mike Greenberg and Jalen Rose yesterday, advocating that the players make concessions to allow the season to begin. The response to Teixeira’s comments were mixed. Some players, including former players, chimed in on Twitter yesterday.
1B/3B Kevin Youkilis wrote, “Former @MLB players are entitled to their opinions on what they think the players should or should not agree on but it’s their time to make the right decision with the @MLB_PLAYERS for what they think is the right decision.”
Pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who played with Teixeira on the Yankees in 2014, said, “Tex was quite possibly the most pro-union player I came across in my career. A few years ago this would be recognized as an ‘under duress’ message.”
Outfielder Adam Jones, currently signed with Japan’s Orix Buffaloes, said more generally, “It’s time for the BIG GUYS in MLB to speak up. This is your time to speak. Stop holding your tongue. Ppl follow and listen to you. Not gonna name names cause there’s a lot of ppl. Who cares what you make. You earned it. Who cares about backlash!! TIME TO SPEAK THE F UP!”
Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer posted a video on YouTube today in which he speaks with his agent Rachel Luba:
We also heard extensively from Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle on Monday. It’s a smattering of players, but hopefully more players use their platforms to speak their minds on these issues. If there is one difference between the current labor issues and those in the past, it’s that ownership can’t as easily dictate the narratives. Players don’t necessarily need a sympathetic media member to get their side out; they can simply make a post on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to speak to their fans directly.