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

Marciano490

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Pennywise and pound foolish, they can save money year to year but IMO it is putting the value of their clubs at serious risk (longer-term) and deeply endangering the sport. It seems quite stupid to me.

The most obvious immediate example is shortening the draft this year, which will probably end up with a few dozen players at least who would have ended up in the bigs instead never playing professional baseball, in order to save a relatively tiny amount of money.
The post following yours about the A’s cutting of their minor leaguers shows you may well be right.
 

jon abbey

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I still think the healthiest way out for the sport is an entirely new, radically different in countless ways, CBA that will go through 2023 or 2024, split shit up and realize you are on the same side, baseball. Work together to try to make the pie bigger and then the exact split matters less, there is plenty for everyone. They are going to need to make changes in 40 man roster rules as well as service time plus who knows what else, so why not go all the way and try something a little more equitable for everyone for a few years and then see where you are when it expires? Too bad the billionaire owners are somehow collectively too stupid to get this.

Anyway, there are probably people in the world that could hammer that out in a few weeks and leave both sides (correctly) happy, but unfortunately I highly doubt a single one of them is on either side of these negotiations.
 

SemperFidelisSox

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Oakland cried foul and refused to pay their stadium rent last month. Now they’re stiffing their minor leaguers. I don’t think this will become a league wide practice. Oakland is just a flat broke franchise.
 

Marciano490

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Oakland cried foul and refused to pay their stadium rent last month. Now they’re stiffing their minor leaguers. I don’t think this will become a league wide practice. Oakland is just a flat broke franchise.
The majority owner is worth $2.1 billion.
 

MFYankees

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Latest offer from owners is absolutely ridiculous. I like the idea of MLBPA offering deferred payments on portions of the larger salaries.
 

nattysez

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I hadn't read this article by Passan before tonight. After doing so, I don't think they're going to play. Given that they can't have fans in the stands, it doesn't make financial sense for the owners to have a season unless the players play for a massively reduced rate. And for a lot of the players, there is no incentive to risk injury/infection for a discounted rate IF (and this is a big if) they think things are going to return to normal (or close to it) next summer. If the A's and Angels are pinching pennies by ceasing to pay minor leaguers and scouts, are their owners really going to spring for Mike Trout's or Khris Davis's full prorated salary?

Assuming activating the TV contracts while playing with cheap players is the best-case scenario for the owners, I think the two ways to get there are to try to force the players to play at a steep discount or lock them out and use minor-leaguers/scabs for this season. Anyone know if the latter is viable under the CBA/labor law?
 

joe dokes

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No it’s not from Boras. The owners are really trying to screw the players
Sources: Under MLB proposal to players, a player making $35 mil in 2020 would make about $7.8 mil. A player making 10 mil would get about 2.9 mil and a player making a mil would make $434k.
View: https://twitter.com/jesserogersespn/status/1265416875539914753?s=21

View: https://twitter.com/jeffpassan/status/1265422054880358402?s=21

Potential salary cuts in MLB plan, sources tell @JesseRogersESPN and me:

Full-year Proposal

$563.5K $262K
$1M $434K
$2M $736K
$5M $1.64M
$10M $2.95M
$15M $4.05M
$20M $5.15M
$25M $6.05M
$30M $6.95M
$35M $7.84M

The owners really thought they could try and fool the players huh.

idiots.
Highest earners give up a higher percentage? That's so.....progressive.
But when Congress tries to have the top of the top of the top earners pay a higher percentage in taxes, Ricketts and his ilk says it's commu-socialism.
I simply do not believe a single word that comes from the mouth or mouthpieces of MLB owners when it comes to money
 
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JimD

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It's a negotiation, or at least MLB and the owners want it to be one. This proposal was designed to get the players off their insistence that the March agreement was the final word and to submit a counterproposal.
 

jon abbey

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It's a negotiation, or at least MLB and the owners want it to be one. This proposal was designed to get the players off their insistence that the March agreement was the final word and to submit a counterproposal.
It took two weeks for the owners to make this ridiculous proposal, they are running out of time to start in early July as hoped.
 

JimD

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It took two weeks for the owners to make this ridiculous proposal, they are running out of time to start in early July as hoped.
Most informed parties have been stating that June 1st is the deadline for an agreement. IMO, with these two sides, it was always going to come down to this weekend. Passan's article in ESPN this weekend (linked in the thread in the MLB forum) did include some indications that discussions have been taking place and both sides do recognize the long-term damage that would result from a season cancelled due to financial squabbles.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I guess I am in the minority but if they play half the games, shouldn’t the players get half the salary minus a bit more to shoulder some of the loss of revenue for no tickets? Why should a unique situation that prevents ticket sales fall solely on the owners?

I haven’t run the numbers to see how bad the owners’ proposal is a lowball but generally I agree with the concept. Whether the right number is closer to 35 percent or 45 percent I don’t see why the players should expect 50 percent. If that is what they demand to make it worth their while to deal with the difficulty of playing in this environment I don’t begrudge them. Then the owners need to make a business decision. But if the players’ position is “ticket sales are your problem,” that just doesn’t seem right to me. Salaries were set with an expectation of selling 162 games of advertising and ticket sales and those numbers are being reduced to 81 and zero.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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Very disappointing to see German soccer players already on the field, the NBA and NHL apparently making process, but the MLB owners and players basically refusing to return to the National Pastime. Not sure who to blame, but I'm guessing there will be plenty to go around.
 

riboflav

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I guess I am in the minority but if they play half the games, shouldn’t the players get half the salary minus a bit more to shoulder some of the loss of revenue for no tickets? Why should a unique situation that prevents ticket sales fall solely on the owners?

I haven’t run the numbers to see how bad the owners’ proposal is a lowball but generally I agree with the concept. Whether the right number is closer to 35 percent or 45 percent I don’t see why the players should expect 50 percent. If that is what they demand to make it worth their while to deal with the difficulty of playing in this environment I don’t begrudge them. Then the owners need to make a business decision. But if the players’ position is “ticket sales are your problem,” that just doesn’t seem right to me. Salaries were set with an expectation of selling 162 games of advertising and ticket sales and those numbers are being reduced to 81 and zero.
If I'm a high earner baseball player being asked to put my body on the line during a pandemic and all the uncertainty that exists because it's a pandemic, then no I play for my full contract. Imagine throwing out your elbow in your second start and then the season is shut down the following week anyways.
 

Mystic Merlin

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I guess I am in the minority but if they play half the games, shouldn’t the players get half the salary minus a bit more to shoulder some of the loss of revenue for no tickets? Why should a unique situation that prevents ticket sales fall solely on the owners?

I haven’t run the numbers to see how bad the owners’ proposal is a lowball but generally I agree with the concept. Whether the right number is closer to 35 percent or 45 percent I don’t see why the players should expect 50 percent. If that is what they demand to make it worth their while to deal with the difficulty of playing in this environment I don’t begrudge them. Then the owners need to make a business decision. But if the players’ position is “ticket sales are your problem,” that just doesn’t seem right to me. Salaries were set with an expectation of selling 162 games of advertising and ticket sales and those numbers are being reduced to 81 and zero.
Because the owners have the equity stake in the franchises and thus they bear upside and downside risk? Are the owners willing to give the players upside in a new CBA? I think we all know the answer to that. And the point that this is a unique scenario demanding unique, equitable solutions is alluring...but it also cuts both ways no? The players, NOT management, are the ones who will need to accept the greatest health/safety burden to keep ANY money flowing in from the media deals.

Obviously, the counterargument is that both sides are fucked if they can’t strike a deal, but that’s not a compelling argument for the players accepting the framework of the owners’ latest offer (notwithstanding the media’s peculiar, misleading characterization of this proposal as an ‘initial’ one).
 

bankshot1

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While both the owners and players should share the financial pain on reduced revenues I think the owners as owners should own more of the burden. They have ways of shielding losses, (hello tax code) to make a 1-year loss less painful. And banking relationships to finance short-term short-falls. And presumably they would have decades to recoup losses or pay back loans. Asking the biggest stars to play for a small fraction of contracted for amounts, while putting themselves at risk to protect owners equity doesn't seem like a great deal to me.

IMO all teams have to share books for the players to see where and how money is made and spent before any givebacks are conceded. Is it conceivable that a big market team like the Sox or Ys with strong local demand and RSN could potentially benefit (there's nothing else to watch and ratings would soar) while slashing their payrolls? IDK, have to see the #s but I imagine its possible.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Because the owners have the equity stake in the franchises and thus they bear upside and downside risk? Are the owners willing to give the players upside in a new CBA? I think we all know the answer to that. And the point that this is a unique scenario demanding unique, equitable solutions is alluring...but it also cuts both ways no? The players, NOT management, are the ones who will need to accept the greatest health/safety burden to keep ANY money flowing in from the media deals.

Obviously, the counterargument is that both sides are fucked if they can’t strike a deal, but that’s not a compelling argument for the players accepting the framework of the owners’ latest offer (notwithstanding the media’s peculiar, misleading characterization of this proposal as an ‘initial’ one).
It's a weird situation in that the players ultimately do get upside over time in the sense that each CBA takes revenues and anticipated revenues into account and salaries go up and up and up as a share of revenue over time. It's sort of a modified revenue sharing system, in that salaries are not based so much on some labor market but are based on the portion of owner revenues that is roughly mapped out to set the tax cap and that is in the minds of everyone who signs players. It's not like a factory where you are getting a supply of $15/hour labor and you have a supply of it that is largely static notwithstanding revenues.

All that said, you've persuaded me that the owners should have more skin in the game because they have in addition to cash flow and revenue an asset, and getting the players on the field this year contributes to that asset. Maybe not in growing it at the moment but at least preserving it or keeping it from free fall. I'm usually a labor over management guy, but even so, and even with that argument, at any number much above 50/50 my sympathies are not with the players here.
 

HriniakPosterChild

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It took two weeks for the owners to make this ridiculous proposal, they are running out of time to start in early July as hoped.
Isn’t the ridiculousness the reason they waited so long to make the offer? (Too bad, so sad, no time to chat, we are running out of time and need to get started.)
I guess I am in the minority but if they play half the games, shouldn’t the players get half the salary minus a bit more to shoulder some of the loss of revenue for no tickets? Why should a unique situation that prevents ticket sales fall solely on the owners?
When an owner gets a new stadium courtesy of the taxpayers or they collectively pocket a couple of billion dollars from selling Bamtech shares to Disney, why should none that bounty go to the players?
 

Leftsox13

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I didn't see anything in the proposal regarding the possibility of fans being allowed in the stadiums later in the season when the Covid numbers drop or a vaccine is developed and distributed, will the players get a boost to their salaries? What about next season when the parks are filled will the owners share the extra money with the players who sacrificed this season? Somehow I doubt it.
 

geoflin

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The owners are asking the richer players to subsidize the poorer players by taking more of a salary cut. The owners say this is because they will make less money this year and some teams will be in trouble. But I don't see any discussion of the owners of richer teams subsidizing the owners of poorer teams through sharing of whatever revenue there is, nor do I expect there will ever be such a discussion. So to me the owners are asking the players to do something they are unwilling to do themselves.
 

nvalvo

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Very disappointing to see German soccer players already on the field, the NBA and NHL apparently making process, but the MLB owners and players basically refusing to return to the National Pastime. Not sure who to blame, but I'm guessing there will be plenty to go around.
This is apples and oranges.

Germany has had a much milder experience with the pandemic than we have had. On a per capita basis, they have a third of our death rate.
 

jon abbey

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Also the NBA and the NHL have an advantage over MLB in that they already have a big chunk of the regular season in the books and can basically jump right to the postseason or close if they decide to.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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This is apples and oranges.

Germany has had a much milder experience with the pandemic than we have had. On a per capita basis, they have a third of our death rate.
Yes, I am aware of all that. I'm also aware that soccer players are constantly crashing into each other, draping their arms around each other, breathing hard on each other for 90 minutes as they run around the field.

If the Germans can figure out how to play soccer in a responsible way, I don't see why Americans can't play baseball responsibly. Oh, except money!
 
Aug 3, 2014
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Wonder if MLB TV will be cut their rates the same percentage and if MLB and team management have taken significant salary cuts, with percent increasing based on regular pay?
 

jon abbey

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Yeah, IMO that was not a good faith offer by the owners, but unfortunately the players do not have good enough negotiators on their side (as we saw in the previous CBA negotiations) to try to make the owners grasp this.
 

nattysez

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Wonder if MLB TV will be cut their rates the same percentage and if MLB and team management have taken significant salary cuts, with percent increasing based on regular pay?
Yes, most front offices have experienced dramatic cuts in pay and/or furloughs.
 

LostinNJ

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It's always stupid to make a plan only for the next few months; they need to think about the next several years. If they (meaning the owners and the players, but mainly the owners) so badly compromise the sport that the fan base shrinks, they'll be arguing over a much smaller amount of money the next time they have to negotiate a new CBA. Their biggest fear should be: what if the pandemic causes the fans to realize they can live without baseball?
 

Lowrielicious

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I didn't see anything in the proposal regarding the possibility of fans being allowed in the stadiums later in the season when the Covid numbers drop or a vaccine is developed and distributed, will the players get a boost to their salaries? What about next season when the parks are filled will the owners share the extra money with the players who sacrificed this season? Somehow I doubt it.
This is something to worry about for next season not this one.


Fair point by Max.
50% pay for 50% season should be the starting point. Owners lose X% from no fans in the stands. Depending on the value of X maybe players should wear some of that loss, but also have to factor in the fact that they are putting themselves and their families at risk by playing the games. The owners not so much.
 

crow216

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This will have to logically come to a conclusion in the next week. Every game they don't play is about 1.2% of your salary prorated. Miss two weeks and you've just forfeited most of what you're trying to negotiate in your favor as a player and the owners will still want lower than a prorated whether or not they play 82 games.I still argue that most of the pressure is on the players here. They have no real leg to stand on.
 

soxhop411

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Pretty definitive from Scherzer - open the books to prove your losses (which of course will never happen) or pay us prorated salaries.

View: https://twitter.com/Max_Scherzer/status/1265842546619691010?s=19
This will have to logically come to a conclusion in the next week. Every game they don't play is about 1.2% of your salary prorated. Miss two weeks and you've just forfeited most of what you're trying to negotiate in your favor as a player.
And this isn’t just any player quote. Scherzer is on the eight-player Executive Sub-Committee which is the top player committee in the union.

bubbaprog: Scherzer, University of Missouri finance major, is on the MLBPA’s top player committee alongside James Paxton, University of Kentucky accounting major.

Andrew Miller (UNC, business), Chris Iannetta (UNC, mathematics) also on the eight-player Executive Sub-Committee.
View: https://twitter.com/bubbaprog/status/1265849863713034240
View: https://twitter.com/dougherty_jesse/status/1265843684374908934
View: https://mobile.twitter.com/byjameswagner/status/1265845842444984320?s=21
 

SemperFidelisSox

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Their biggest fear should be: what if the pandemic causes the fans to realize they can live without baseball?
Everyone under the age of 57 already does. That’s the average age of an MLB viewer. To haggle over money when the NFL and NBA have already passed you by as our national pastime and are hemorrhaging young fans is such a self destructive act.
 
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JimD

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Typical saber rattling. Wake me on Sunday morning when there is some actual news to report.
 

nattysez

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Jayson Stark has a foreboding piece in the Athletic today. I think a fair summary is: "I can't believe you're even considering not playing over money, especially since it'll likely adversely impact the game forever -- even more than 94."
 

DLew On Roids

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Great, another View From Nowhere column when everyone involved is only trying to work the refs.

The "I can't believe this is happening!" column always plays into the hands of the side that cares less about creating a working solution. As such, it encourages burn-it-down tactics. Stark should know better.
 

jon abbey

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That is a few days old and was already posted but the fact that there seems to have been zero dialogue or advancement by either side since then is fuel for your belief.
 

dano7594

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I still believe something gets done and baseball is played.

But if it does not, I believe the owners come out of this looking ok in the court of public opinion. Meanwhile the players negotiating in public look bad and greedy.
 

joe dokes

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I still believe something gets done and baseball is played.

But if it does not, I believe the owners come out of this looking ok in the court of public opinion. Meanwhile the players negotiating in public look bad and greedy.
If the owners agree to travel on the planes, and stay at the hotels and spend time in locker rooms with the players, I'll have some sympathy for them.
 

mauf

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It's a weird situation in that the players ultimately do get upside over time in the sense that each CBA takes revenues and anticipated revenues into account and salaries go up and up and up as a share of revenue over time. It's sort of a modified revenue sharing system, in that salaries are not based so much on some labor market but are based on the portion of owner revenues that is roughly mapped out to set the tax cap and that is in the minds of everyone who signs players. It's not like a factory where you are getting a supply of $15/hour labor and you have a supply of it that is largely static notwithstanding revenues.

All that said, you've persuaded me that the owners should have more skin in the game because they have in addition to cash flow and revenue an asset, and getting the players on the field this year contributes to that asset. Maybe not in growing it at the moment but at least preserving it or keeping it from free fall. I'm usually a labor over management guy, but even so, and even with that argument, at any number much above 50/50 my sympathies are not with the players here.
The average career for an MLB player is about 5-6 years. That average is dragged down by guys who never get more than a couple cups of coffee, but the majority of players can't reasonably expect to sign a big contract down the road -- either they'll never get to free agency, or they already got their big payday and won't get another. The economic health of the sport won't affect those players personally; minimum salaries won't go down, and arbitration awards are likely to decline modestly at most, regardless of what happens. I think those guys, quite reasonably, are concluding that the risk of injury, coupled with possible COVID-19 risk, doesn't justify playing for less than a prorated salary. And I think the owners would rather skip the 2020 season than play a half season with no stadium revenues and no salary relief beyond proration. And given that 2021 won't be great for MLB either, even if we can have fans back in stadiums by April, I can understand the owners' position -- there is a limit to how much money they can lose, and there absolutely must be a 2021 season.

It's no one's fault -- there just doesn't appear to be a middle ground where both sides will conclude that it makes sense to play in 2020. Would love to be wrong.
 

jon abbey

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It's no one's fault -- there just doesn't appear to be a middle ground where both sides will conclude that it makes sense to play in 2020. Would love to be wrong.
Even if that's the case (I have no idea at this point), the two sides have got to use this time to hammer out a longer term CBA, or everyone will end up losing massively. The owners have all seen the value of their teams go up by hundreds of millions, that is going to melt away if the sides can't agree, and the players only have so many years to earn money, as you said. The owners need to take the lead on this for it to happen, but I am certainly not holding my breath.