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

jon abbey

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The biggest problem is that it's not just a single incredibly fucked up season that they need to figure out, it's that the sport already had major major issues that had to be addressed and the current CBA is up after next season. In a perfect world, the players would hire some more professional negotiators and the two sides would hammer out a five year deal, including this season, but I'm not holding my breath for any of it.
 

EvilEmpire

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Good point about the CBA.

I wonder if (and how much) the CBA ending soon puts pressure on the players to work out something for this season. A lost season with little to no pay before negotiating a new CBA could make it harder for them to use a work stoppage as leverage.

Of course the franchises are hurting now and would be later too.
 

jon abbey

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Good point about the CBA.

I wonder if (and how much) the CBA ending soon puts pressure on the players to work out something for this season. A lost season with little to no pay before negotiating a new CBA could make it harder for them to use a work stoppage as leverage.

Of course the franchises are hurting now and would be later too.
The CBA expires after 2021, not after this season, so there should theoretically be a full 2021 season in there also.
 

EvilEmpire

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I know. That is a lot of money within three seasons at risk. And since the negotiation fir the next one should be before it ends, I thinking the financial hit that players are taking this season, assuming no games are played, would be fresh in many minds.
 

jon abbey

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I'm still a little confused, I don't know what you mean by 'three seasons' (just 2020 and 2021, right?).

And I don't think realistically the negotiations for the next CBA were ever going to start before the 2021 season ended, but maybe that can change now (he says, hoping his wishfiul thinking translates into reality).
 

JCizzle

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I'm still a little confused, I don't know what you mean by 'three seasons' (just 2020 and 2021, right?).

And I don't think realistically the negotiations for the next CBA were ever going to start before the 2021 season ended, but maybe that can change now (he says, hoping his wishfiul thinking translates into reality).
I think for players it might be hard to go:

2020 - no pay
2021 - pay
2022 - threaten a lockout w/ no pay.

Going 2 out of the next 3 years without pay would be a tough pill and may remove that option from the union to force concessions. At least that's how I read it.
 

EvilEmpire

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I think for players it might be hard to go:

2020 - no pay
2021 - pay
2022 - threaten a lockout w/ no pay.

Going 2 out of the next 3 years without pay would be a tough pill and may remove that option from the union to force concessions. At least that's how I read it.
Yeah, that is all I was saying. But I did assume they would be negotiating the next CBA next year before it ends.
 

RedOctober3829

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There should not be any ill will from the players towards the owners for how this year is playing out. There's nothing that could be done about the situation the world is in. How can a player be mad about a reduction in pay this year is beyond me. Player salaries are partly based on revenue generated so if there are no fans in the stands then the revenue streams aren't what they were going to be.
 

joe dokes

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The owners are most likely not getting gate receipts for an entire year so it should be obvious that the pool of money is not going to be as big for both them and the players.
There's going to be thousands of people put at significant health risks to play any games. None of them are owners. But the tax deductions will write themselves.
 

Orel Miraculous

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There should not be any ill will from the players towards the owners for how this year is playing out. There's nothing that could be done about the situation the world is in. How can a player be mad about a reduction in pay this year is beyond me. Player salaries are partly based on revenue generated so if there are no fans in the stands then the revenue streams aren't what they were going to be.
Did you miss the agreement the players already made with the league in March? Their pay is being reduced already. If no games are played, then just $170 million will be divided amongst every player. If some game are played, the players will receive only pro-rated salaries based on games played.

What the owners are now trying to do by seeking additional pay cuts is make the players pay for any further revenue losses. It's particularly odorous because, as long as revenues were soaring year after year, the owners had no problem with the fact that the players took in under 50%. Now that revenues will take a hit all of a sudden the owners want it to be 50/50? Come on, surely you can see what's happening here.
 
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RedOctober3829

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Did you miss the agreement the players already made with the league in March? Their pay is being reduced already. If no games are played, then just $170 million will be divided amongst every player. If some game are played, the players will receive only pro-rated salaries based on games played.

What the owners are now trying to do by seeking additional pay cuts is make the players pay for any further revenue losses. It's particularly odorous because, as long as revenues were soaring year after year, the owners had no problem with the fact that the players took in under 50%. Now that revenues will take a hit all of a sudden the owners want it to be 50/50? Come on, surely you can see what's happening here.
No I didn't miss the agreement. You are looking at what the union put out there. According to the NY Post, MLB also put in the agreement that a "reconsideration of salaries must be undertaken if there are no revenues from attendance." I don't think it's unfair to realign players salaries with the amount of revenue now being brought in this year. It's a basic part of any business in today's world in which there are furloughs/layoffs/pay cuts everywhere. This will make for a contentious negotiation in which the players don't have much time for if they want to get as many games in as possible. If they can't come to an agreement over this and end up not playing this year(although health factors should play a much bigger role in starting the year) and don't get paid, it's a much worse outcome. I just hope that cooler heads prevail on both sides and they come to a deal. It's bad optics for both the players and the owners at this point.

 

Philip Jeff Frye

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I was speaking to a friend last night who runs a smallish law firm on the west coast that has done work over the years for some baseball teams, mostly when they are bought and sold. It was his suggestion that, in addition to no ticket sales, concessons, etc..., the owners are also looking at very weak ad sales for television. I pushed back suggesting that the ratings would be enormous because people are starved for sports and there's not going to be a much other new content available, but he thought the overall advertising market is so terrible that this would not be enough of a factor of offset the decline. There was an article in the WSJ today about big advertisers trying to make unprecedented changes to the fall ad buys that would suggest he might be right.
 

nattysez

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View: https://twitter.com/EvanDrellich/status/1260348252689440768


Meeting between MLB and MLBPA has ended. MLB did not make an economic proposal. Discussions expected to continue.
It sounds unlikely that any California teams are going to get a green light to play before July. I suspect the Padres, Dodgers, Angels and Giants may need to play out of their Spring Training facilities if they want to open up in July, as had been discussed before. All but the Padres have pretty nice facilities. The Padres play in an older park.

Edit: this sounds bad.

MLB’s position is that it will lose more money if they play games without fans and pay prorated salaries than if they don’t play at all. Thus, owners are saying they will not pay pro-rated salaries.
View: https://twitter.com/JonHeyman/status/1260363191877545984?s=19
 
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jon abbey

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There should not be any ill will from the players towards the owners for how this year is playing out. There's nothing that could be done about the situation the world is in. How can a player be mad about a reduction in pay this year is beyond me. Player salaries are partly based on revenue generated so if there are no fans in the stands then the revenue streams aren't what they were going to be.
The ill will has been building up for years, as we have detailed in the threads in the MLB section. This crisis situation is just pointing out the fault lines more obviously.

And player salaries are indirectly based on revenue generated, but they certainly don't get raises when ticket prices go up or a new giant TV contract is signed.
 

jon abbey

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The only real way to dispel the ill will is an entirely new CBA superseding the previous one and going through maybe 2024, one that fits the current sport better. They are going to have to change the 40 man rules and big league clock starting rules (hello Wander Franco a year early) at the least, they might as well rip the whole thing up and try to fix as much as they can.

Ideally owners and players need to realize that they’re essentially on the same team and try to grow the sport together, which I guess is the main point of revenue sharing. The owners need to somehow understand that they can win short-term battles but they are often doing longer-term damage in the process (One example, how many future MLB players will now take up different careers instead because of the pointlessly cheap 2020 draft rules? 10? 20? More? So unnecessary.)
 

grimshaw

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Ya I think the players need to see those books either way to negotiate in good faith. To me, that's just the owners posturing by countering the players drawn sand lines.

Just surmising, but I think the players win this one big. Imagine finally having a chance to spotlight their dying sport with no competition and sports media heads starving for something to talk about. On top of that, imagine the embarrassment if other leagues get their sports going first. The owners desperately need something on the field. If they don't cave, they deserve every dime they lose.
 

JimD

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Mark Teixeira comes out on the owners side:

“Players need to understand that if they turn this deal down and shut the sport down, they’re not making a cent,” Teixeira said on ESPN early Tuesday. “I would rather make pennies on the dollar and give hope to people and play baseball than not make anything and lose an entire year off their career.”

Easy to say when you've earned $213 million in your career, I guess.
 

joe dokes

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Mark Teixeira comes out on the owners side:




Easy to say when you've earned $213 million in your career, I guess.
Playing baseball will not "give hope" to nearly as many people as it will "give them something to watch" while countless other people get sick.
 

lexrageorge

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Ya I think the players need to see those books either way to negotiate in good faith. To me, that's just the owners posturing by countering the players drawn sand lines.

Just surmising, but I think the players win this one big. Imagine finally having a chance to spotlight their dying sport with no competition and sports media heads starving for something to talk about. On top of that, imagine the embarrassment if other leagues get their sports going first. The owners desperately need something on the field. If they don't cave, they deserve every dime they lose.
While not analogous, a lot of people said the same thing about NHL owners in 2004. Turned out that the owners had no issue with sacrificing a season.

I support the MLBPA in ensuring that they are not agreeing to some sort of de facto salary cap for the foreseeable future. If that's the hang up, it should be a bridge that both sides can cross by giving a little. It's all part of collectively bargaining, which can be a messy process. The media pundits say there's 3 weeks to reach a deal, and it really doesn't matter if they agree to a deal now or on June 1st.

But one should not assume that owners have to cave completely. They could easily point to the virus as the real cause of a cancelled season and few are going to question them.
 

Awesome Fossum

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MLB’s position is that it will lose more money if they play games without fans and pay prorated salaries than if they don’t play at all. Thus, owners are saying they will not pay pro-rated salaries.
I mean, that's a fine position if you're an indoor football league or a restaurant or whatever, but this is ostensibly an institution so important to our culture that they enjoy antitrust status. Accepting the risk of losing money is supposed to be what the owners are bringing to the table. I understand that this is all part of a negotiation, but it would be pretty infuriating* if this ends with a season not being played because it will save ownership some money on the margins.

*I'd say unforgivable, but I know I'd just piss and moan for a month and then watch every Sox game in 2021. But I hope both sides have the awareness and foresight to understand how it will look if the season is not played for a reason other than public health.
 

tims4wins

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Mark Teixeira comes out on the owners side:




Easy to say when you've earned $213 million in your career, I guess.
Wouldn't the easy thing to say be that players should sit out, not risk anything, and hopefully return to full salaries in 2021? Superstars can afford to take a year off, they make a ton. It's the low salary guys who are going to suffer. I get that we all hate Teixeira, but I don't really get this take.
 

Harry Hooper

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Help from the porn industry?

“The challenges for sports, for Hollywood and the porn industry are all different but in reality, we each have things we can learn from each other,” Stabile said.

Hollywood movie studios, television networks and groups representing actors and directors have been brainstorming for weeks on how to re-start production while protecting everyone from actors to make-up artists and camera crews.

Ideas include quarantining all cast and crew for the length of a shoot, medics on sets, temperature tests every 12 hours, and substituting extras and crowd scenes with computer generated imagery, according to leaked documents and industry sources.
Reuters
 

crow216

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They'll settle on something in the middle.

Prorated salaries for each remaining game
Salaries for games with no fans reduced by a % (maybe half)
Salaries paid in full at in-season rates for postseason games
Postseason expanded with more teams for 2020 only
 

8slim

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I was speaking to a friend last night who runs a smallish law firm on the west coast that has done work over the years for some baseball teams, mostly when they are bought and sold. It was his suggestion that, in addition to no ticket sales, concessons, etc..., the owners are also looking at very weak ad sales for television. I pushed back suggesting that the ratings would be enormous because people are starved for sports and there's not going to be a much other new content available, but he thought the overall advertising market is so terrible that this would not be enough of a factor of offset the decline. There was an article in the WSJ today about big advertisers trying to make unprecedented changes to the fall ad buys that would suggest he might be right.
Generally speaking, there is more money made from the subscription fees for cable networks, than from ad sales. Yes, the TV ad marketplace is spiraling downward. But there is much greater risk in not playing games, and thus rebates owed to cable operators for not fulfilling contracts that mandate games be televised. In other words, the Sox stand a lose a lot more money from NESN not airing games, than from advertisers not spending money on NESN, if that makes sense.
 

jmm57

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View: https://twitter.com/EvanDrellich/status/1260348252689440768




It sounds unlikely that any California teams are going to get a green light to play before July. I suspect the Padres, Dodgers, Angels and Giants may need to play out of their Spring Training facilities if they want to open up in July, as had been discussed before. All but the Padres have pretty nice facilities. The Padres play in an older park.

Edit: this sounds bad.



View: https://twitter.com/JonHeyman/status/1260363191877545984?s=19
I went looking for this the other day to see the impact of the lost gate between The NFL and MLB. Its not going to be perfect, but Forbes has these profiles:
It shows the Sox with operating income of $89mm with $199mm in gate revenues.

The comparison I was looking for was to the NFL, for reference the same series had the Pats at $240mm operating income with $104mm from gate.
 

lexrageorge

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I went looking for this the other day to see the impact of the lost gate between The NFL and MLB. Its not going to be perfect, but Forbes has these profiles:
It shows the Sox with operating income of $89mm with $199mm in gate revenues.

The comparison I was looking for was to the NFL, for reference the same series had the Pats at $240mm operating income with $104mm from gate.
That's roughly $66/ticket for the Sox. Seems a bit low, but there are discounts, etc.

And about $150/ticket for the Pats.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I think there needs to be a distinction between a reduced salary and a pro-rated salary in these discussions. If he's talking about wanting 100% of his pre-virus salary rather than a pro-rated portion of it based on the number of games played, I think he's being a bit unreasonable. If he's talking about not taking a cut in his per-game rate, that seems a fair stance to take.
 

tims4wins

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I think there needs to be a distinction between a reduced salary and a pro-rated salary in these discussions. If he's talking about wanting 100% of his pre-virus salary rather than a pro-rated portion of it based on the number of games played, I think he's being a bit unreasonable. If he's talking about not taking a cut in his per-game rate, that seems a fair stance to take.
I think it is pretty clear he is talking about wanting 100% of his pre-virus salary. And that he should get roasted for that take because it's dumb. Now if he wants to say that playing is not worth the risk of half of his salary, I can understand that, and I may even agree with it (edit: and in fairness, that's what he eventually said). But wanting 100% pay for 50% play is ridiculous.

"If I'm gonna play, I should be getting the money I signed to be getting paid. I should not be getting half of what I'm getting paid because the season's cut in half, on top of a 33% cut of the half that's already there -- so I'm really getting, like, 25%."
 

jon abbey

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Again, it's a mistake to just look at this year out of context. Snell won a Cy Young while making around $500K and finally this year he was going to start to get paid closer to what he was worth. If he had been getting paid more fairly the last few seasons, I'm sure he'd be more flexible now.
 

tims4wins

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Again, it's a mistake to just look at this year out of context. Snell won a Cy Young while making around $500K and finally this year he was going to start to get paid closer to what he was worth. If he had been getting paid more fairly the last few seasons, I'm sure he'd be more flexible now.
If he had $50M in the bank by now, you don't think he'd be more likely to want to sit out the season?
 

jon abbey

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Also there needs to be some understanding that it's not just a year by year investment for the owners, they are all sitting on assets that have appreciated quite a bit. If I'm reading this chart correctly, every one of the 30 teams has seen the projected value of their franchise go up by at least $600M in the last 10 years. The owners should be taking much more of a hit than the players.

 

Minneapolis Millers

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"If I'm gonna play, I should be getting the money I signed to be getting paid. I should not be getting half of what I'm getting paid because the season's cut in half, on top of a 33% cut of the half that's already there -- so I'm really getting, like, 25%."
I don’t think he should be paid at all, given those atrocious math and logic skills.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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Its obviously an individual's prerogative as to whether they want to expose themselves to the risk of getting coronavirus, but I found this part of his quotes interesting:

"Bro, I'm risking my life. What do you mean it should not be a thing? It should 100% be a thing. If I'm gonna play, I should be getting the money I signed to be getting paid."

So he's okay taking risking his life if he gets $7 million, but its unacceptable if he only gets $1.75 million or $3.5 million or whatever he'd get under the proposal?
 
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lexrageorge

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Its obviously an individual's prerogative as to whether they want to expose themselves to the risk of getting coronavirus, but I found this part of his quotes interesting:

"Bro, I'm risking my life. What do you mean it should not be a thing? It should 100% be a thing. If I'm gonna play, I should be getting the money I signed to be getting paid."

So he's okay taking risking his life if he gets less than $7 million, but its unacceptable if he only gets $1.75 million or $3.5 million or whatever he'd get under the proposal?
Maybe he doesn't want to play, but doesn't want to come out and say it? At least publicly? Or could just be standard negotiating.
 

effectivelywild

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Its obviously an individual's prerogative as to whether they want to expose themselves to the risk of getting coronavirus, but I found this part of his quotes interesting:

"Bro, I'm risking my life. What do you mean it should not be a thing? It should 100% be a thing. If I'm gonna play, I should be getting the money I signed to be getting paid."

So he's okay taking risking his life if he gets less than $7 million, but its unacceptable if he only gets $1.75 million or $3.5 million or whatever he'd get under the proposal?
I imagine there is a price point for many of us at which we would accept an increased risk of COVID. And I think though, that he is making more of a point about how the people who are telling players that they need to cut the salary of the players aren't the people putting themselves at risk. Or I may be giving Snell too much credit.
 

dynomite

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Its obviously an individual's prerogative as to whether they want to expose themselves to the risk of getting coronavirus, but I found this part of his quotes interesting:

"Bro, I'm risking my life. What do you mean it should not be a thing? It should 100% be a thing. If I'm gonna play, I should be getting the money I signed to be getting paid."

So he's okay taking risking his life if he gets less than $7 million, but its unacceptable if he only gets $1.75 million or $3.5 million or whatever he'd get under the proposal?
yeah, I’ve been thinking about that too. I didn’t get it at first. But it makes some sense to me — If I am parsing his admittedly confusing statement correctly.

I think what he’s saying is that he’s willing to risk getting coronavirus, and potentially cutting his career short or never being the same athlete again because of reduced lung capacity or anything else, but only because the contract that he signed reflected that. There’s always a risk of needing Tommy John surgery, or having a career ending injury. But he’s not willing to risk his entire career worth of earnings just to come back for a half season at a much reduced amount.

But, again, the guy is hardly Mark Twain — I could be misreading his word salad.
 

Gash Prex

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Am I to understand that players (or at least the opposition) don't want to account for reduced revenue due to no fans in attendance? Why can't they just remove the attendance revenue and prorate based on that? Or at least negotiate off that number if players want "hazard pay." Seems like the most logical and fair approach. All or nothing seems to be a little out of balance with the rest of the world currently working in reduced economic conditions.
 

jon abbey

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Am I to understand that players (or at least the opposition) don't want to account for reduced revenue due to no fans in attendance? Why can't they just remove the attendance revenue and prorate based on that? Or at least negotiate off that number if players want "hazard pay." Seems like the most logical and fair approach. All or nothing seems to be a little out of balance with the rest of the world currently working in reduced economic conditions.
Because baseball is not a direct revenue sharing sport, the players don't get raises when giant new TV contracts are signed, and this season is not occurring in a vacuum from previous and future seasons, despite the very unique circumstances. The owners have seen the value of their teams go up by hundreds of millions or even billions in the last decade, sometimes that means taking a short-term loss.