It would appear that everyone got the email or text message at the same time because Jeff Passan of ESPN, Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic, Jon Heyman of MLB Network all had it on twitter within a minute of each other, that on Sunday afternoon the Major League Baseball Players Association presented a plan to Major League Baseball for the 2020 season. There were some health related parts to the proposal as well as some monetary parts to the proposal beyond just the schedule itself.
The Health Proposal
Whether some would like to believe it or not, the back-and-forth in these negotiations aren’t simply about money. Yes, money is a very big part of it, but it’s not all of it. There’s a worldwide pandemic still happening with a virus that is still killings thousands of people per day around the world. It’s highly contagious and one that many people can spread without even knowing that they have it.
Jeff Passan of ESPN reported some of the proposal on Sunday night (I am typing this at 12:45am, so it’s possible the link will have more updated information by the time that you read this). One of those proposed changes to the health plan offered by MLB last week was that players who are not deemed “high risk” would also be able to opt out of playing this year. Those players would not be paid their salary. Players whoa re “high risk” can opt out and would still be paid. Further reporting by Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich at The Athletic notes that the players submitted plan also includes that players who live with someone that is “high risk” would also be able to opt out and receive their salary. Anyone opting out would receive service time. MLB had offered in their plan the option for “high risk” players the ability to opt out and still be paid (on the sliding scale that they proposed).
The Money and Schedule Proposal
The players are not backing off of the prorated pay by game agreement that they reached in late March. What the players proposed is a prorated by games played salary structure, along with a 114 game schedule that would end on October 31st – resulting in a 14-team playoff, with seven from each league (however the leagues are set up – it’s not specific in any report). The top team in each league would get a bye.
Now, that part of the proposal alone seems to be a non-starter for reasons I’ve started in the past. The owners want fewer games because it means they pay less, and the owners want more of a guarantee that they can get through the playoffs before an expected “second wave” of COVID-19 hits and potentially shuts things down across the country again. The reason for that is because the national playoff television contracts are enormous, and getting that money would keep the owners from taking an enormous hit. It’s why their proposal had the World Series ending by the start of November – they want the highest likelihood possible of completing the playoffs so they can be made whole on that playoff contract.
But the players had some other proposals, too. They are willing to allow expanded playoffs for two years, which would allow MLB to sell more playoff games to broadcasters and potentially bring in more money. The players also said they would be willing to take some salary deferrals into the future IF the playoffs were cancelled this year. That would only apply to players making more than $10M a season.The deferments would be paid out in both November 2021 and 2022 – as reported at The Athletic.
The players also added some rather interesting things to their offer. They’ve said they would be willing to wear microphones on the field during games, hold off-season events that could include an All-Star game and a Home Run Derby.
It’s a “non-starter” proposal
Jon Heyman was the only person I saw on Sunday night that had a quote of sorts from anyone on the non-player side, and it went just as expect.
“Non starter,” is the way one ownership person responded to the players’ response. The good news; There’s probably still a week to figure this out.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 1, 2020