It’s been a heck of a week in the baseball world when it comes to things that are happening between the owners, the players, the agents, and now the former players, too. At the center of some of it is Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer. You likely know that Bauer is not scared to speak his mind. If he believes you are in the wrong, he will make it known – and that doesn’t matter if you are Rob Manfred, the owners of teams, or as we learned this week – Scott Boras or even former players.
After MLB offered their latest proposal to the Major League Baseball Players Association on Tuesday, the players were less than thrilled about it and decided that it wasn’t even worth further discussion and that instead they would offer up their own plan. But Trevor Bauer was not happy with the rumors, as he said on twitter, that he was hearing about Scott Boras trying to insert himself into the situation.
Hearing a LOT of rumors about a certain player agent meddling in MLBPA affairs. If true — and at this point, these are only rumors — I have one thing to say… Scott Boras, rep your clients however you want to, but keep your damn personal agenda out of union business.
— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) May 27, 2020
It’s uncertain if what Bauer was hearing turned out to be the email that Boras sent out to his clients that was obtained by the Associated Press, but it feels likely that it was. Here’s the email:
Remember, games cannot be played without you. Players should not agree to further pay cuts to bail out the owners. Let owners take some of their record revenues and profits from the past several years and pay you the prorated salaries you agreed to accept or let them borrow against the asset values they created from the use of those profits players generated.
Owners are asking for more salary cuts to bail them out of the investment decisions they have made. If this was just about baseball, playing games would give the owners enough money to pay the players their full prorated salaries and run the baseball organization. The owners’ current problem is a result of the money they borrowed when they purchased their franchises, renovated their stadiums or developed land around their ballparks. This type of financing is allowed and encouraged by MLB because it has resulted in significant franchise valuations.
Owners now want players to take additional pay cuts to help them pay these loans. They want a bailout. They are not offering players a share of the stadiums, ballpark villages or the club itself, even though salary reductions would help owners pay for these valuable franchise assets. These billionaires want the money for free. No bank would do that. Banks demand loans be repaid with interest. Players should be entitled to the same respect.
Throughout this process, they will be able to claim that they never had any profits because those profits went to pay off their loans. However, the end result is that the Ricketts will own improved assets that significantly increases the value of the Cubs — value that is not shared with the players.
Make no mistake, owners have chosen to take on these loans because, in normal times, it is a smart financial decision. But, these unnecessary choices have now put them in a challenging spot. Players should stand strong because players are not the ones who advised owners to borrow money to purchase their franchises and players are not the ones who have benefited from the recent record revenues and profits.
I will say this much: Scott Boras is 100% correct in what he says here. The owners of these teams felt that the money train would never stop rolling in. And really, for the large majority of them it hasn’t since they bought or inherited the team. In the last 15 years almost every franchise has at least tripled in value and for 18 consecutive years Major League Baseball had set a record for revenue.
As for Bauer having an issue with Boras, assuming of course it was based on the email that he sent out – it’s tough to know where to fall on that. If I am a player, I’m probably seeking the advice of anyone in my circle about the situation. That’s going to include my agent, my finance guy if I’ve got one, my teammates, the union – all of them.
But it’s not just Scott Boras that caught the feedback of Bauer. Former big leaguer Kyle Lohse did as well after he chimed in telling Rachel Luba, Bauer’s agent, that what he was doing gives the perception that the players are turning on each other. That didn’t sit well with Bauer, who came back at Lohse.
The two of them went back and forth a little bit longer after that. And Eric Gagne even chimed in (while this account is not verified, it’s followed by Bauer’s company Momentum, as well as Rachel Luba – and Gagne worked with both of them in the last few weeks – so I’ll venture to say that it’s really him) to try and calm things down a little bit.
Writing this post felt like I took a job at TMZ, and for that I apologize. But unfortunately, labor negotiations are where we are at in Major League Baseball right now and it’s the topic that’s most important to getting to see games played in 2020 by Major League Baseball players.
“ Writing this post felt like I took a job at TMZ”
Doug—that’s funny right there.
Yeah, I’m not quite sure how Boras is hurting the players with his email. If anything, it vouches for their position. The line between repping your players and injecting yourself into union business is all kinds of gray for an agent.
Lohse comes off like a crochety old man with the video game comments, ugh!
I agree with the statement that “Boras is 100% right.” Boy I never thought that I would agree with Boras
Boras might not be 100 percent right, but it seems he may at least have zeroed in on the issue which is prompting the owners to negotiate as though the sky is falling. Both sides will figure this out eventually, but for the first time I believe the owners might actually be willing to forego the 2020 season and wait for more normal societal and economic conditions in 2021.
It’s a huge mistake, in my opinion. But only they know how highly leveraged they are.
I believe Boras represents his clients to the fullest and believes that if they cave to the owners now they are going to get steamrolled in the next CBA.
Boras is probably mostly right on how leveraged some teams are with their finances. How much of the area around Wrigley Field has the Cubs ownership purchased. The one property that would not sell to them, they put up a scoreboard to block the stadium from the bleachers that are on the building’s roof.
That property is not free and the most likely took out loans, now those places which are not part of the “baseball revenue” as they are probably a different named business with the same owner to hide the revenue as not part of the team.
Large companies do it all the time, have one business be intentionally show a lose on the books to allow the profitable businesses to make lots of money and no income taxes are paid.
As soon as one starts cooking the books this way, it has to go on forever as if not both the people whom gave you the loans and the IRS get upset with the business.
This is a tangled web of finances.
Interesting how you look at articles, comments from players a couple weeks ago it was all about safety, but smart ones knew, its always about the money…
I feel the players are guaranteed to make money this year. if games are played they will make even more money. The question becomes should the owners be allowed the guarantee of making money this year or should there be some risk involved.
Owners want a guarantee of a profitable year for all teams. Players want the most they can get. Boros gives the impression that the owners should lose money.
I’m a small business owner. My client’s businesses were devastated in this economic shutdown and I’m now in week 13 of no income. Thankfully I have savings and may make it another couple of months before my personal economic cliff. Even through I paid into unemployment, I was denied.
So, that’s a long way of saying I couldn’t care less about millionaires and billionaires arguing.
I am in 100% agreement with you Tom. Well said.
If only 65% of the players union were in no way millionaires this statement would hold a lot more water.
Tom nailed it! This is a moment in history where professional athletes could make a huge difference in how the morale of this country is. They could bring so much energy and joy to millions who are feeling beaten. They so often like to compare themselves to soldiers and make come ts about going to battle. Yet now in this moment of need by so many, a time where they could make a difference, they are choosing to bicker over money. If both the players and the owners can not see this and bring the game to the people, the resulting damage to Baseball may be irreversible.
very well said Curtis. this is so much bigger than baseball. just seems to me that the owners see this a little more than the players.
just seems like perfect timing for a scab season. the mlb players will get money for sitting at home. the owners can pay minor leaguers peanuts to play major league baseball this year and at least capture some tv money. everybody would be pleased!
I wouldn’t be pleased.
Could you please elaborate on your response here? What wouldn’t be pleasing to you? and Why?
Sure. I don’t want to watch non-Major Leaguers cross a picket line and play for Major League Baseball teams. I don’t want to see minor league players feel forced to have to make the choice.
On what planet would not watching Nick Castellanos play for the Reds this year, and instead watching Replacement Level Player ABC be “pleasing” to you or I?
I’d rather watch no Major League Baseball than watch companies worth a combined $60,000,000,000 exploit minor league players to try and make some money this year instead of just paying the big leaguers the money that they already agreed to pay them.
And let’s be sure that we understand that if we don’t see Major League Baseball this year, it’ll probably destroy the career and business that I’ve built over the entirety of my adult life and I’ll probably have to leave it all behind. But that’s where I stand, too.
I’m with you. I would have no interest in “replacement players.” This is the year we have the players to hopefully compete. Nothing less than seeing them is good enough, in my opinion.
Doug, I understand where you are coming from. I can tell for your writing and dedication that effort and passion you put into this and the redsminorleague website. I assume that the actions of the MLB owners/players are going to have a more direct impact on you more than anyone else here.
I would be disappointed if no season is played but it would not impact me financially at all.
I would not watch replacement games as part of what I enjoy is watching players which I know whom they are and have some passion behind.
The Reds franchise is long term but a turnover of more than 5 or so players a year would be to much effort to bring any passion from this fan.
Would be nice if the owners and players would reinvest in there fan base and slash ticket, concession, parking prices for when baseball opens back up again to the public. Players and owners are making a kajillion dollars, as stadiums aren’t even half full most of the time. It cost a couple hundred bucks to take a family of four to a game now a days. Be nice if they could take all that money they make the game day experience more affordable for the less fortunate. Until then, could care less about their squabbles. Their both entitled that could care less about growing the games fan base.
This is going to be the only warning you get about using that kind of language, Kurt. Don’t do it.
With the cable and TV contracts as the main source of income for pro sports teams, the fan base is becoming, IMO, increasingly a nebulas and antiquated concept replaced by the TV and computer. The pandemic is hastening big changes in employment where increasing work will done from home, and in education where the computer and video conferencing become more prevalent. As much as baseball fans love a crowded noisy stadium, we will adjust.
I prefer minor league baseball anyway, and that was long before anybody had heard of covid.
Well, let’s start with the fact that every team outside of one pays their players in the minor leagues who haven’t yet reached free agency less than McDonald’s pays their cashiers.
Look, I know plenty of people in the organization, and as far as I know, they are good people who do actually care about the players. They aren’t the ones that have a say over the money. But I can’t sit here and say that paying the guy in Dayton $7500 a year is treating that guy well – because it’s not. This isn’t just a Reds problem – it’s an everyone but the Blue Jays problem. For top picks who got big signing bonuses, that matters a lot less. Most guys aren’t that, though.
And then there’s the whole thing where the Reds, and every other single team in baseball sits around and manipulates service time so players can’t reach free agency without getting an extra “cheap year” out of them. Until a player reaches free agency at the Major League level, which is usually at least 10 full years into their professional baseball careers, they are underpaid and taken advantage of. The reward on the back end used to be good, but now teams are also trying to, and for the most part doing a very good job of taking that away from them, too, citing that their best years are behind them. And while that’s true for the most part, the teams now don’t want to pay you for when you are at your best or pay you back for when you weren’t.
That’s every team. It’s not just the Reds.
This is spot on. We all talk about how the top 1% of baseball players make tens of millions. But the fact of the matter is this:
The top 1% of MLB players have it better than any other sport.
The lower 10% have it worse than any other sport. Rookies are able to negotiate contracts in the NFL and NBA. MLB players need to wait 3 or 4 years until they get a salary increase and 6 or 7 until they can get a bigger contract.
I don’t really have an opinion on Boras, but I absolutely agree with his take. I do love Bauer, and I get his comments to Lohse, as Lohse doesn’t really have a dog in this fight anymore. At the same time, I don’t get Bauer’s stance toward’s Boras’ comments. As the letter was to Boras’ clients he seemed to be doing the thing Bauer wanted, which was to rep his clients.
Some recommended reading: https://theathletic.com/1843384/2020/05/29/stark-memo-to-baseball-dont-drive-off-this-cliff/
June is just around the corner and MLB is very near the cliff again. For those of us around at that time, the memory of 1994 has not faded.
I find Boras comments laughable at best. Yes he is trying to do what is best for his clients. But this is where he goes off the rails a bit.
Any owner wants to not only recoup their losses , but improve on their investment to generate a greater return. That’s wny the Cubs have made vast amounts of improvements to the area around Wrigley. But part of it is to generate additional income to help pay ever escalating players salaries.
If there is no season this year while other sports are getting ready to ramp up, it will have damage beyond this year. Those TV contracts will be worth less in coming years.
Clay Travis, on his national radio show yesterday, made a comment that should send shock waves through MLB. If the NBA starts up and finish the season, they will start next season on Christmas. And run through the summer. Travis indicated that there is some speculation that the NBA may move to that schedule going forward. If that happens, who is going to dominate the sports landscape in the spring and summer? Not baseball.
anyone remember the cliche’ “…for Love of the Game!” MLB players are beloved usually because they’ve proven themselves on the field. MiLB players are attempting that same thing! So how does advancing MiLB players to play Major league games cheapen the game? How is giving a Major League Prospect (usually known as a Minor League baseball player) the opportunity to play on a Major League stage exploiting him?
Granted (pay attention, disclaimers coming) I don’t have a Season Ticket to a MLB franchise. There is no MLB team that plays within a 6 hour drive of where I am sitting right now. I DO have a MiLB team that plays right here and even though they aren’t affiliated with the MLB team to which I follow faithfully, I love watching them play, every chance I get! I also coach my 7YO’s recreational baseball team and love watching the kids learn the game. Are those games bad or hard to watch? At times, YES IT’S AGONIZING! But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. In the end, for me, it’s baseball that I love. The history. The passion. And yes, The players. But the players of the game! I don’t like the DH, because to me it allows 2 players to take the field, that DO NOT play the full game of baseball. Pitchers should bat, Batters should field! I don’t make a living playing, writing, coaching, or even indirectly working for any professional athletic or entertainment enterprise. I do spend money collecting baseball cards and autographed baseball memorabilia. And I’m thinking that the whole collection will lose value because of what’s happening. But I don’t collect as an investment, I collect because I love baseball. Love talking about baseball. And in the end, I hope and pray that my 7YO son AND 7YO grandson will love it too. Maybe even play it at a high level or even get a job directly related to the sports entertainment industry, because it’s a MULTI BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY!
A MLB player is a contracted employee! There are words in writing that say how and why they get paid. There is pen to paper (or keys to word processor application, you know what I mean) on what the Billionaire owners are required to do! They can’t figure it out? I don’t care! I work hard for a living! For my families livelihood! I took and TAKE the precautions for going to work and home through this pandemic every day! When and if it is safe to play for everyone, THEN PLAY! If some primadonna thinks his 1.5M isn’t enough to play a 3 hr game of baseball… don’t pay him and send him on his way. If some GAZILLIONAIRE thinks that 1.5M is too much to pay when the TV contract that was just signed is worth HUNDREDS of Millions, HE’S A RICH GREEDY IDIOT (probably how he made those MILLIONS in the first place). I’m neither. I’m just a fan of baseball. I’d like to see some games played. I’d like to see the people that play those games enjoy it and not be worried about the money they’re getting, are they going to be healthy afterward, is their family safe? If that can’t happen, then it doesn’t. But I don’t care about your money worries…. i really don’t! you’re health and safety does concern me…. but c’mon, when they say it’s ok…. let’s play!