Last week it was reported that Major League Baseball and its owners were considering imposing a 48-game schedule. The idea: if players would not make concessions to their agreed upon prorated pay, the league would seek to play a short season so as to reduce their total salary outlay.
The idea of MLB insisting on so few games in order to save on salary took a considerable beating in the media and among fans over the weekend so now it sounds as if they’ve modified that stance: more games but a renewed demand for players to make salary concessions:
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
UPDATE: Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that even the 75% salary is contingent:
MLB made its proposal this morning. Dropped the sliding scale that hurt highest earning players most. Players would not earn the full 75 pct prorated unless a postseason is concluded.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) June 8, 2020
UPDATE: And now we learn of another wrinkle. This one, though, could be pretty significant:
MLB's new proposal also involves forgiving 20% of the advance from the March agreement and getting rid of the qualifying offer and draft-pick compensation for free agents this winter.
Union estimates it would net players about $200 million more total than MLB's first proposal.
— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) June 8, 2020
The advance refers to the $170 million MLB forwarded players against 2020 salary. Forgiving it is like tossing them cash, so that’s something. Elimination of qualifying offers and draft pick compensation, though, could be much more valuable to players in the aggregate. It’s something they were no doubt going to try to get removed from the Collective Bargaining Agreement following the 2021 season, but if it’s just being handed to them now, well, they would have to consider it. The report would that it’s just for one offseason, but once someone gives something up in a negotiation, it’s hard to get back, so it would definitely change the nature of the 2021 CBA bargaining.
The players are unlikely to accept the 75% pay for a 76-game season on its own, as the matter of prorated pay was settled back in March and the owners have acknowledge it. The owners, in contrast, have the right to impose a season of whatever length they consider feasible, also agreed upon in March. If there’s more involved in all of that, it’s all a lot more unclear. Guess we’ll have to wait for the players’ answer.
UPDATE: Oh, here’s another term. This sounds very much not promising:
Besides the $$, MLB's proposal includes a revision to the Operations Manual that says players would have to sign an "acknowledgment of risk" before playing. Players believe it is designed to undermine their right to challenge MLB if it fails to provide a safe working environment.
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) June 8, 2020