Everyone wants baseball back. The owners want it. The players want it. You and I want it. But it’s not just as easy as saying “Play Ball”, either. There’s a very contagious, deadly virus that we don’t really have a known, good, and easily available treatment for right now that has the entire world slowing down to try and combat it. And of course, there’s also the whole business side of the game, too.
We’ve heard a whole lot of leaked information from the owners over the last few weeks about what they want the public to believe about their finances (but strangely enough won’t actually show their books to even the MLBPA, and as reported by Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic late on Sunday night, the owners didn’t fully respond to the unions request for financial documents) in an effort to make the players look like the bad guys here. And it’s largely been working, as we’ve all seen someone talk about how the players need to just compromise on the 50-50 revenue split. Of course the problem here is that MLB has literally not offered that plan to the players to even discuss yet. But Joe Public has already decided the players need to accept a proposal that’s not been given to them.
Still, there’s going to be some negotiation on the money no matter how it is initially proposed – and it’s expected to be proposed on Tuesday by MLB to the MLBPA. Even though the 50-50 split was simply leaked and never presented to the players, the union stated that it was a non-starter in negotiations, especially after they believe that the two sides had already agreed to salary back in March when the players accepted a pro-rated by games played salary. The owners believe there’s a clause in that deal that makes that deal void, which is why they are attempting to now renegotiate that.
Chuck Garfien of NBC Sports Chicago is reporting that both the owners and players may be willing to work with each other a little bit.
According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the league will make a proposal to the players’ union Tuesday that will be a compromise from the 50-50 revenue sharing split that had been floated earlier this month. This could serve as a starting point in negotiations from MLB’s side.
Meanwhile, the union is expected to propose a plan that allows players to receive their prorated salaries based on the number of games played, which was part of an agreement between the two sides finalized March 26. But a certain amount of money would be deferred to future years to help reduce the owners’ expenses for the 2020 season.
These, according to a source, would likely be the general starting points in negotiations, a clear signal that both sides are willing to move closer to one another in the hope they can come to an agreement that allows for a return to play.
The players are taking the approach that Major League Baseball has already applied to the upcoming draft. They are hoping that while the salaries can remain the same, that deferring some of that money to future years when there can be more revenue coming in will be acceptable. We don’t have an exact idea of what the owners proposal will be other than it’s not likely to be exactly a 50-50 revenue split.
But, what this does give us is at least some hope that the two sides are willing to talk about ways to try and make this all work on the money side. Hopefully they can find something that works that is satisfying for both sides, and then we can look at the safety and health sides of the proposals, which after several days and a 67-page plan from Major League Baseball, the players sent back some additional thoughts, questions, concerns, and ideas on Thursday evening.