The MLBPA is expected to counter the proposal set forth by owners just a few days ago, with a vastly different plan addressing the season and salaries. They will suggest a longer season and a prorated salary rather than the sliding scale set forth by MLB.
After decades of skyrocketing revenue for teams, the players’ union will be pushing back. They are demanding a higher stake in the game, no pun intended. There is a long held belief by the players’ association that owners have reaped substantial financial windfalls for years, At the same time they accuse teams of suppressing earnings potential for the very people that play the game and fill the stands. Their proposal should mirror these sentiments.
Players feel that the owners already reneged on a proration agreement that was negotiated and approved in March. Under the owners’ recent proposal, higher-earning players could see reductions in salary much greater than lower-earning colleagues. For some, the reduction in salary would be in the range of 70-80%. By revisiting proration and adding in additional games, players stand to make more money under the MLBPA plan. Under their plan, their full salaries would be prorated by the number of games played.
Leverage – Striking Back
A longer season would also give the players a bargaining chip in negotiating a return to play in 2020. The league has suggested a shorter season, out of fears that COVID-19 will surge or have additional recurrences in the coming months. This could pose a threat to postseason play, which happens to be extremely lucrative for MLB. Major League Baseball has already cited economic doom and gloom based on the lack of play so far. The union is calling into question many of the projected losses the owners have claimed. In fact, they have requested detailed information about MLB’s revenue streams. For example, they would like more concrete numbers regarding local and national TV contracts, and sponsorship figures. They are also requesting specifics on team projections. Given that teams are privately owned, many of these numbers are not required to be released.
Digging In with Their Proposal
The players seem to be united in holding MLB’s proverbial feet to the fire. You can expect very little flexibility on additional reductions to their salaries. Surely, the next few days and weeks will be critical in determining if the 2020 season happens at all.
Can we expect both parties to negotiate in good faith given the money that stands to be made by both sides? One would think so. Perhaps both parties need to think of the average American. The fans that buy their tickets and wear their jerseys have “real” concerns. For instance, paying their mortgage/rent, and buying groceries in these uncertain times. If the game can be played safely, fans would like to see the owners and players to get it done.
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