Tony Clark
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AP source: Players ask MLB for slew of financial documents

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NEW YORK — Lawyers for the baseball players’ union asked Major League Baseball to submit a slew of financial documents that detail the industry’s finances, a person familiar with the request told the Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday because neither side announced the step.

Baseball owners on Monday approved a proposal that could lead to the coronavirus-delayed season starting around the Fourth of July with a regular-season schedule of about 82 games. Owners also gave the go-ahead to propose basing players’ salaries on a a 50-50 revenue split, which the union says is a salary cap and a framework players will never agree to.

The type of financial disclosure the union asked for is more common during overall collective bargaining talks, which play out for many months or years, rather than the limited negotiation time available now.

“There’s so many ways to hide the money,” Cincinnati pitcher Trevor Bauer said in a video he posted Wednesday on Twitter.

Bauer said owners could reduce ticket prices and at the same time charge more for parking garages they control through different entities that do not benefit the club.

Describing himself as being only slightly lighthearted, the outspoken 29-year-old took a shot at the baseball commissioner.

“If I’m going to have to trust my salary to Rob Manfred marketing the game to make more money for the game, I am out on that,” Bauer said. “Let me market the game and we’ll all make more money.”

Teams made a presentation to the union Tuesday that included a dire financial forecast but no formal proposal.

Management fears even more financial difficulty if regular-season games are played, causing players to be paid their salaries, and the postseason is canceled because of a second wave of the new coronavirus. Players do not draw salaries during the postseason, when MLB receives the largest portion of its national broadcasting revenue.

Players are waiting to received detailed medical and testing protocols from MLB. Not willing to risk becoming ill, Tampa Bay Rays All-Star pitcher Blake Snell said he would not take the mound this year if his pay is cut further.

“I’m not splitting no revenue. I want all mine,” the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner said on a Twitch stream Wednesday. “Bro, y’all got to understand, too, because y’all going to be like: ‘Bro, play for the love of the game. Man, what’s wrong with you, bro? Money should not be a thing.’ Bro, I’m risking my life. What do you mean, ‘It should not be a thing?’ It 100% should be a thing.”

A 27-year-old left-hander, Snell agreed in March 2019 to a $50 million, five-year contract that included a $3 million signing bonus, a $1 million salary last year and a $7 million salary this season.

As part of the March 26 agreement between Major League Baseball and the players’ association, Snell is being advanced $286,500 for the first 60 days of the season through May 24 but would not get any more in 2020 if no games are played. The deal calls for players to receive prorated shares of salary if the season does start; Snell would get $43,210 for each day of the schedule.

Teams say they would lose money if games are played in empty ballparks. Manfred says 40% of revenue is gate and related to gate.

“If I’m going to play, I should be at the money I signed to be getting paid,” Snell said. “I should not be getting half of what I’m getting paid because the season’s cut in half, all on top of a 33% cut of the half that’s already there, so I’m really getting like 25%. On top of that, it’s getting taxed. … If I get the ’rona, guess what happens with that? Oh, yeah, that stays – that’s in my body forever.”

Nationals back off of minor league stipend cut

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Yesterday it was reported that the Washington Nationals would cut the weekly stipend paid to their minor leaguers from $400 a week to $300 per week through the end of June.

For frame of reference, MLB had agreed to pay all minor leaguers $400 per week through May 31. Several teams have agreed to extend that, with the Royals and Twins agreeing to do it all the way through the end of August. The Oakland A’s decided to stop the payments in their entirety as of today. The Nationals were unique in cutting $100 off of the checks.

The A’s and the Nationals have taken a great amount of flak for what they’ve done. The Nats move was immediately countered by Nationals major league players announcing that they would cover what the organization would not.

The A’s are, apparently, still sticking to their plan. The Nats, however, have reversed course:

One can easily imagine a situation in which Nats ownership just decided, cold-heartedly, to lop that hundred bucks off of each minor league check and not worry about a moment longer. What’s harder to imagine is what seems to have actually happened: the Nats did it without realizing that anyone would take issue with it, were surprised by the blowback, and then reversed course. Like, what kind of a bubble where they living in that they did not think people would consider that a low-rent thing to do?

In any event, good move, Nats, even if I cannot even begin to comprehend your thought process.