There’s been a whole lot written in the last few days about the on-goings between Major League Baseball (the central office), Major League Baseball owners, the Major League Baseball Players Association, and the Major League Baseball players (individual level) with regards to the negotiations, expectations, realities, and well – everything else surrounding what it’s going to take to get baseball back in 2020. We’ve written about some of it here at Redleg Nation, too, wondering about whether players could choose to not play even if the MLBPA votes to play out of individual health concerns, how the revenue sharing plan proposed by the owners is a no-go, and how Sean Doolittle outlined a plethora of non-monetary concerns that he and other players would like to see addressed before they are ready to get back on the field. And that’s just the stuff in the last 30 hours.
We aren’t the only place to weigh in on this, of course. So let’s take a look at some of the other pieces written about what’s happening right now.
Privatize the Profits, Socialize the Losses
Craig Goldstein weighs in at Baseball Prospectus today on how the owners in Major League Baseball want to renegotiate their agreement with the players so they they don’t have to assume any risk of loss in 2020, categorizing it as such:
The owners in Major League Baseball aren’t entitled to a profit just because the last few decades have provided one. Owners like to say that baseball is a business, that capital is entitled to its profits because it takes all the risks. Ownership has certainly taken the profits over these last few decades, but now that they are in question, they’re asking players to share the pain; owners seek to inoculate themselves from the very risk used to justify their percentage of the profits. More succinctly, they’ve privatized the profits, and now want to socialize the losses.
There is a whole lot in the article from Goldstein that you should probably check out for a more detailed breakdown of team revenues, where they come from, and the like.
The Battle over the 2020 MLB Season is about to get ugly
We aren’t saying that Jeff Passan and ESPN stole our headline from over the weekend, but we aren’t not saying it, either. All joking aside, Passan lays out how things could get ugly this week between MLB and the MLBPA over negotiations between the two sides with regards to the 2020 season being played. While I don’t necessarily agree with the part of Passan’s article on his breakdown of the revenue – specifically the television contract numbers he brings up because there’s evidence he’s incorrect on the amounts – it’s a pretty thorough article on what’s to lose and gain for both sides. This part of the article was a strong point, too.
So are owners going to yield?
Well, most of them didn’t become billionaires by accident. Unless they have evolved overnight, they will push and cajole and hold out for the best deal, knowing that in the end, fans often side with teams over players. They can say that they’re losing money and want their workers’ salaries to reflect that, like it does in so many places across America, even if players already agreed in the March deal to a structure that will halve their salaries.
Then again, a truth underpins this entire negotiation: If ever there were a time for billionaire owners to do good — not in paying players, per se, but in avoiding the catastrophic fallout of baseball adding to a national unemployment rate approaching 15% — it’s now. And if ever there were a time for millionaire players to shed cynicism and adopt not a mien of war but one of mutually beneficial deal-making, it’s now.
What players with health concerns are saying
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic spoke with several players who have underlying health conditions that put them at a higher risk of complications, or even death, if they were to contract COVID-19. It seems that the players are willing to play if the right measures are put in place. Here’s what Colorado Rockies outfielder David Dahl, who had his spleen removed in 2015, said:
“It’s definitely scary . . . my immune system is pretty bad,” Dahl says. “But I trust the medical experts, the guys with the Rockies, everyone who will be involved that if we do come back and play, we’ll be safe and taking the right precautions to make sure we aren’t at a greater risk.”
Other players that Rosenthal spoke to shared similar thoughts. Some of those players include Dodgers reliever Scott Alexander, Adam Duvall, Jordan Hicks, Carlos Carrasco, Kenley Jansen, Jon Lester, and Anthony Rizzo.
With that said, Andrew Miller is quoted within the article and is sure to note that the players association, as well as Major League Baseball, has the duty to be sure that the concerns for everyone is taken care of – not just the players, but the staff of everyone involved with the game, and their families.
The first day of negotiations
On Tuesday officials from Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association sat down, virtually, to discuss the plan that was sent over earlier today. Multiple reports (Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Evan Drellich of The Athletic) say that economics were not brought up as far as specifics go. Jon Heyman of MLB Network noted that the talks were about protocols, logistics, and testing.
MLB and the players union talked a lot about the most important issue today — health and safety. There was talk about protocols, logistics and especially testing. There was economic talk as well but no proposal about revenue sharing or salary reductions yet.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) May 12, 2020