MLB 2020: We're Playing, but We Can't Agree on Anything

Red(s)HawksFan

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Question is whether this means everyone's luxury tax is reset. Meaning, the Yankees also don't have to worry about payroll this year.
Pro-rated salary would presumably mean a pro-rated luxury tax, no? So if a team was on target to exceed the cap pre-shutdown, then they'd remain on target now unless they shed more salary.

The question with the Sox was if there was no season at all, the tax wouldn't reset. If there's a season, they were under the cap already, so they get to reset.
 

crow216

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Pro-rated salary would presumably mean a pro-rated luxury tax, no? So if a team was on target to exceed the cap pre-shutdown, then they'd remain on target now unless they shed more salary.

The question with the Sox was if there was no season at all, the tax wouldn't reset. If there's a season, they were under the cap already, so they get to reset.
Don't know what the specifics are but I could see an argument that luxury taxes shouldn't apply this year. At least as far as the payments go, not necessarily the resetting.
 

nvalvo

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Fixed that for you. The players get no salary for the postseason, just a percentage of the gate in the form of bonuses. But they only get a percentage of the minimum number of games in each series. So they get their cut of the first three games of a five game series, or first four games of a seven game series but if the series goes beyond the minimum, it is 100% profit for the owners.
I am aware of that — we could also add all the extra TV money for the national broadcasts — and I still don't think it's that obvious.

The playoffs earn that money because people watch, and people watch because those games are deemed especially meaningful. I am concerned like many fans that if they are expanded too much they will no longer be seen that way. At a certain point, you risk making too many of your World Series the fourth best AL team vs. the seventh best NL team, and the whole thing starts to seem a bit absurd.

If I were the owners, I would be mindful of that. I see this as another instance of the short-term conception of their self interest that makes the owners terrible stewards of the game.
 

geoflin

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How about a 63 game season? 10 teams per division so 9 opponents per team. Play a 4 game series and a 3 game series against each opponent, minimizing travel.
 

grimshaw

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The expanded playoffs are moot if the players strike towards the end of the 2021 season. The potential loss of extra playoffs seems to be a significant contributor (not sure what was bigger between that or a filed grievance) to the owners blinking this year. I can see the same thing happening a year from now - though who knows what the fine print will say.
 
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P'tucket rhymes with...

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The players also benifit from increased future revenues so if there being no 2020 season will impact future team revenues they should be motivated to want to play as well. You use the terminology of "reap the profits of the risk of ownership when things go well", but they will also suffer the losses if things don't go well.

The players are contractors and contract terms are frequently negotiated in business. I've never heard it said that any such negotiation is one side's problem and not the other.
I don't disagree that the players should take into account future earnings and the viability of the game; taking that into account would be a reasonable consideration in formulating a negotiating strategy. But if the owners and players crash while playing a game of chicken over this, make no mistake, the owners are entirely responsible.

ETA: And there is no reason to believe that the future revenues of the game will magically pass along to the players. They will be negotiated, often acrimoniously in baseball. Again, they are employees.
 

jon abbey

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I mean, they're technically employees, but they should be treated like temporary partners.

I keep saying it, for months and even years now, but the best thing for everyone would be for owners to realize that they should not be in a constant adversarial relationship with the players and to work together to best build and promote and expose the game. If nothing else, from a purely financial perspective for the owners, this would be by far the smartest way to go, but I'm not holding my breath.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I don't understand your middle paragraph. The players are being paid pro-rata per game, so the more games they play the more money they get.
The players want as many regular season games as possible because that would increase how much of their paychecks they'd get. 100% pro-rata on their salary is determined on a per game basis. Better to have 80 games worth of pay than 50, no?
Well yes and no because some players are now playing additional free games in playoffs.

But I'll withdraw the question because thinking more about it, some of the ideas I had were too esoteric to be seriously considered (I.e, playing 48 games at 125%) of salary.

edit: it will be interesting to see if the final deal includes a minimum playoff pool.
 

BaseballJones

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From a Red Sox perspective, a 60 game sprint followed by expanded playoffs in 2020 and 2021, all while resetting the luxury tax....is about as ideal a situation as you could possibly hope for.

Even this team could have a very real shot at making the expanded playoffs, and once there, we've all seen that anything is possible. Moreover, resetting the tax was a huge goal for them and it accomplishes that.
 

jon abbey

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Well, I guess we wasted half a season of Gerrit Cole.

I'll take it.
I said this somewhere else, but the dude pitched 250 innings last year and his first kid is due this month, these few months off could not have been timed better for him.
 

JCizzle

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I mean, they're technically employees, but they should be treated like temporary partners.

I keep saying it, for months and even years now, but the best thing for everyone would be for owners to realize that they should not be in a constant adversarial relationship with the players and to work together to best build and promote and expose the game. If nothing else, from a purely financial perspective for the owners, this would be by far the smartest way to go, but I'm not holding my breath.
See: the NBA since Stern left. It's never going to be a perfect relationship, but Silver has shown it doesn't need to be adversarial.
 

RedOctober3829

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Reportedly, the DH will be installed in the NL for 2020 and 2021. Given that the CBA ends in 2021, it will also be included in that as well. Consider the pitcher hitting in any level of baseball as dead. In my book, that's a good thing. More jobs for the MLBPA and honestly nobody goes to the game to see a pitcher hit.
 

crow216

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Reportedly, the DH will be installed in the NL for 2020 and 2021. Given that the CBA ends in 2021, it will also be included in that as well. Consider the pitcher hitting in any level of baseball as dead. In my book, that's a good thing. More jobs for the MLBPA and honestly nobody goes to the game to see a pitcher hit.
Fun fact, Gerrit Cole could be the last pitcher to have taken an AB via the old rules.
 

crow216

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Multiple tweets that only sticking point left is number of games. League wants 60, players want 70ish. Sounds like we're close. Can't they just get the guy from pawn stars to finish this negotiation?
 

PedroKsBambino

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For all the talk of the owner's negotiating in bad faith, would be intersting to look at the key parameters---games to be played, any tweaks to playoffs, and total payroll expected--and determine who moved the farthest from the initial offers. That is not the best indicia of negotiation success, but it is worth considering given all the commentary.
 

nattysez

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Joel Sherman has a Twitter thread where he says he's ultimately pessimistic about the season happening and doesn't understand why Manfred and Clark left their negotiation without a term sheet in place. But he does explain the case for optimism.
 

jon abbey

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There's so much to agree on still and I never hear people mention service time for the guys who wouldn't normally be on the MLB roster, or number of options, or 40 man, all of that stuff seems like it needs to be on the table and discussed/negotiated/renegotiated. The best thing for baseball would be to have guys like Wander Franco and maybe even Jasson Dominquez (17, no professional ABs) at the back end of 60 man active squads (28-30 for a game), but as I keep saying, I am not holding my breath.
 

crow216

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If there needed to be an symbol and exclamation point on these negotiations, it will be the dollar signs pasted all over the uniforms.
 

nattysez

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Rosenthal confirms Sherman's pessimism:

Once again, Major League Baseball and the Players Association do not agree on what actually happened during their negotiations.

First, the parties thought their March deal meant different things. Now, they can’t even agree on whether they reached a new deal in principle.

League sources say commissioner Rob Manfred and union head Tony Clark settled on the framework of an agreement in a face-to-face meeting Tuesday. The union, however, is adamant that no deal was reached, tweeting as much on Wednesday night. Clark informed Manfred that the 60-game season proposed by the league was not long enough, a source said.
 

djbayko

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Rosenthal confirms Sherman's pessimism:
Sounds like Rosenthal and Sherman are being a bit alarmist here. To me a "framework of an agreement" can mean many things. Perhaps they've moved closer on everything except the number of games and aren't too far off there either.

Turning the fact that someone said a deal has not been reached into proof that the Manfred/Clark meeting was a shit show seems to be a stretch without further evidence.
 

Average Reds

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The players are contractors and contract terms are frequently negotiated in business. I've never heard it said that any such negotiation is one side's problem and not the other.
Referring to players as “contractors” is stunningly obtuse.

They are full-time, unionized employees who operate under a CBA. And they are employed in one of the only industries that enjoys both a legal exemption to anti-trust protections and (for the vast majority of franchises) public subsidies for ownership.

It’s a rather unique relationship and you would be advised to understand the nuances before spouting non-stop, contradictory blather.
 

PedroKsBambino

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The current problem seems to be that the players aren’t internally aligned—Clark has to manage factions who want more games and factions who want to just get paid this year.

I don’t read this all the same way Rosenthal and Sherman do. I think they are being fed something by agents
 

joe dokes

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Short season benefits: If the Sox are no good, then its less misery. If they are not no good, then they'll be in "contention" (whatever that means).
 

JimD

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The union won by getting Manfred to approach Clark hat in hand and have MLB agree to full pro-rated salaries. Rushing to Twitter to bash Manfred for his interpretation of the meeting with Clark is dumb IMO and risks a backlash from the hard-line owners.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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The union won by getting Manfred to approach Clark hat in hand and have MLB agree to full pro-rated salaries. Rushing to Twitter to bash Manfred for his interpretation of the meeting with Clark is dumb IMO and risks a backlash from the hard-line owners.
I disagree. Baseball twitter was saying "this is basically a done deal, here are all the details!" - MLBPA is being perfectly responsible to say "whoa - we're talking is all. We haven't agreed to anything."
 

Jed Zeppelin

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I disagree. Baseball twitter was saying "this is basically a done deal, here are all the details!" - MLBPA is being perfectly responsible to say "whoa - we're talking is all. We haven't agreed to anything."
Seems pretty transparent that the league is trying to claim some high ground by suggesting they have a deal so they can later say the players killed the season if that comes to pass.
 

crow216

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Seems pretty transparent that the league is trying to claim some high ground by suggesting they have a deal so they can later say the players killed the season if that comes to pass.
Honestly, I don't think any of the parties have actually said an agreement is done. All that was really said is that the framework of a deal is agreed upon. To me, framework means they are close but issues still need to be resolved. In addition, most of the reports even by the most optimistic journalists said they still need to agree on number of games. It's really just two people creating drama right now.
 

PedroKsBambino

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The union won by getting Manfred to approach Clark hat in hand and have MLB agree to full pro-rated salaries. Rushing to Twitter to bash Manfred for his interpretation of the meeting with Clark is dumb IMO and risks a backlash from the hard-line owners.
I think MLBPA started with a 114 game proposal at full salary with an expanded playoffs and a $100 mil upfront payment. That would get players roughly $2.8 bil of the potential $4 bil salary in a 'regular' season

MLB started at a 82 game proposal with (effectively) $750 mil in salary reductions beyond pro-ration,so players get $2 billion of that same potential $4 billion in a 'regular' season

If they land on 60 games at full proration that will get the players about $1.5 billion of that $4 billion

Given that the owners profit per game without fans is either negative or marginal (because TV revenue is much more fixed) I do not think this is a win for the players. The owners never wanted more games and got fewer games while preserving a TV product and more playoff games (where revenue per game is highest). So they are paying out less in salary to get the things they wanted.

I of course am lacking all sorts of details about the underlying economics but as I see things this is basically a story about how badly the MLBPA needs strategic advice because they managed to do nothing but flush salary down the toilet, never to be recovered, in this negotiation.
 

Patek's 3 Dingers

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Referring to players as “contractors” is stunningly obtuse.

They are full-time, unionized employees who operate under a CBA. And they are employed in one of the only industries that enjoys both a legal exemption to anti-trust protections and (for the vast majority of franchises) public subsidies for ownership.

It’s a rather unique relationship and you would be advised to understand the nuances before spouting non-stop, contradictory blather.
Referring to players as “contractors” is stunningly obtuse.

They are full-time, unionized employees who operate under a CBA. And they are employed in one of the only industries that enjoys both a legal exemption to anti-trust protections and (for the vast majority of franchises) public subsidies for ownership.

It’s a rather unique relationship and you would be advised to understand the nuances before spouting non-stop, contradictory blather.
OK, my statement was inaccurate. The main purpose of my comment, was in response to a previous poster's belief that the negotiations were the owner's problem and not the players. The fact they are not contractors is irrelevant to that discussion.
 

Kliq

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I wonder what would happen if someone hits .400 in 60 games. It would be a great moment for "Well, actually..." neck beards, that is for sure.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I think MLBPA started with a 114 game proposal at full salary with an expanded playoffs and a $100 mil upfront payment. That would get players roughly $2.8 bil of the potential $4 bil salary in a 'regular' season

MLB started at a 82 game proposal with (effectively) $750 mil in salary reductions beyond pro-ration,so players get $2 billion of that same potential $4 billion in a 'regular' season

If they land on 60 games at full proration that will get the players about $1.5 billion of that $4 billion

Given that the owners profit per game without fans is either negative or marginal (because TV revenue is much more fixed) I do not think this is a win for the players. The owners never wanted more games and got fewer games while preserving a TV product and more playoff games (where revenue per game is highest). So they are paying out less in salary to get the things they wanted.

I of course am lacking all sorts of details about the underlying economics but as I see things this is basically a story about how badly the MLBPA needs strategic advice because they managed to do nothing but flush salary down the toilet, never to be recovered, in this negotiation.
I think the trouble is that the players had something else working against them...time. It was apparent from the time the two sides started talking about starting the season that "Opening Day" was unlikely to be any earlier than July 1. Under normal circumstances, in a normal season, July 1 through the end of the season is roughly 80-85 games. The MLBPA proposing a 100+ game schedule was going to be a non-starter from the jump. The longer the negotiations took, the more they lost leverage on getting as many games as they wanted. I can't say I blame them too much if that costs them a bit of what their total compensation is. I can see their perspective that 60 games at 100% compensation is better than 80 games at less than 100% compensation, even if the latter means more total money. Each game is a risk for them...better to get max compensation per game.
 

tims4wins

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Nomar was at .403 heading into the 2nd game of a July 20, 2000 double header

He was only 1 for 12 to start the year. He hit .420 from April 8 through the first game of the double header.
 

Brand Name

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Interesting, hadn't even thought of that.
What are the top averages through the ~first 40 games of a season?
Researched this for a 60 game sample actually earlier this month, here’s what I came up with:

First 60 games of team, memorable seasons batting:

-Ty Cobb, 1911: .443/.493/.668

-Darin Erstad, 2000: .384/.446/.585

-Carney Lansford, 1988: .384/.432/.516

-Jason Giambi, 2001: .359/.496/.689

-Larry Walker, 1997: .417(!!)/.514/.787

-John Kurk, 1992: .369/.448/.491

-Wade Boggs, 1986: .379/.491/.530

-Rico Carty, 1970: .395/.484/.688

-Chipper Jones, 2008: .409/.498/.657

-Cody Bellinger, 2019: .376/.462/



Pitching seasons through 60 team games:

-Don Drysdale, 1968: 1.31 ERA, through 110.1 IP, .198/.250/.256 against.

-Pedro Martinez, 2000: 0.95 ERA through 85.1 IP, .152/.213/.199 against.

-Bobby Shantz, 1952: 1.59 ERA, through 136 IP, .196/.246/.272 against.

-Juan Marichal, 1966: 1.73 ERA through 120 IP, .183/.220/.251 against.

-Lefty Grove, 1931: 1.77 ERA (AL through full season was 4.38), through 127.0 IP, .208/.266/.309 against.
 

BigSoxFan

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It'll be an interesting test of all those guys who are typically slow starters. Was it the cold weather of April or does it just take them longer to get in a groove?
Yup. And given the sample size of 60 or whatever games, we’ll probably see some weird averages for star players that would have normally smoothed out over the course of a season.
 

CarolinaBeerGuy

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Here's an article from last year when Bellinger was still chasing .400. George Brett was at .400 after 148 games. Chipper Jones was the most recent in 2008 with a .400 average after 73 games.

 

Harry Hooper

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The MLBPA agreeing to expanded playoffs in 2021 is a major concession in this where a subset of players get additional small postseason payments while the owners reap major revenues. If it bumped up the 2020 regular season games to something close to 80 games, maybe worth it. It doesn't seem that's in the cards, so better for the PA to just play the 50 games and no expanded playoffs in 2021.