Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association continued their meetings and negotiations on Wednesday. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported on many of the aspects of the meeting, which for the second consecutive day were focused on just about everything safety related and almost nothing financially related to getting baseball going again. There are plenty of safety concerns that the players would like to see addressed, as laid out by Sean Doolittle the other day. And there are also plenty of financial concerns on both sides, too, which we’ve talked about here at Redleg Nation before and will have a little more on below.
What’s in the safety protocols?
Within the article from Nightengale there are several things that Major League Baseball has checked off the list of things that used to be norms within the game. No more high fives. No more spitting. Players are being asked to avoid using public transportation, including things like taxi cabs, Uber, Lyft, or other “ride sharing”. While fans aren’t going to be allowed in games anytime soon, players are also being asked to avoid signing autographs or taking pictures with fans who hang out outside team hotels.
That stuff, of course, takes place away from the ballpark (except for the splitting and high fives thing). But when it comes to safety within the ballpark, there are some interesting things here. First is that MLB is not recommending daily blood tests, but is proposing daily temperature checks on anyone entering the stadium. The article notes that in Korea – where they have been playing games for over a week now – everyone is scanned once they park their car, they get tested before entering the ballpark, and everyone wears a mask.
They are still shooting for that first week of July start up time. But it’s the end of the season that is more worrisome it would seem. Nightengale notes that Major League Baseball is worried about the “second wave” in the fall/winter, and “the problem is that no one knows when that second wave is coming”. That’s led to baseball wanting the playoffs to be over at the start of November – scrapping a once thought out idea that they could play into December at more warm and neutral sites if needed.
Trevor Bauer and other players weigh in
Let me start off by saying that the video embedded below has some adult language within, so be forewarned about that if you are going to watch it. With that said, Trevor Bauer and his agent Rachel Luba sat down for another episode of Business Casual on Bauer’s Youtube channel and talked about a lot of things, including the money and contract situation around getting baseball going again.
The ask is basically take more risk by getting back sooner and take less pay than we’ve already agreed. We’ve already agreed to take, 50 percent pay cut and now they’re asking us to take another pay cut,” said Bauer. “(A 50-50 revenue split) has never been done in baseball. It’s not collectively bargained. It would just be for this season. It doesn’t sit well with me. Slightly lighthearted, but if I’m gonna have to trust my salary to Rob Manfred marketing the game to make more money for the game, I am out on that.
The first sentence there seems to be the major hang up between the two sides when it comes to money. The players believe the deal agreed to in late March was good to go. On the other side the owners believe that it was contingent upon fans being allowed to attend games, and now that they see no way that’s going to happen, they want to renegotiate the deal.
As we noted above, the two sides haven’t even really gotten into financials yet at the digital negotiating table. But more than a few current players are speaking out on the money issue in rather uncertain terms – they aren’t willing to take a pay cut further than the one that they have already agreed to take. Whether that’s Bauer, or Blake Snell, or the 100 or so players represented by Scott Boras that he says are willing to play right now if they get paid their already agreed upon salaries from March.