The battle back-and-forth between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association reportedly got heated this weekend when the two sides met according to Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic.
The owners officially turned down the players association’s plan for a 114-game season that would end on October 31st and then have an expanded playoff, and include players making a prorated salary. That comes as a surprise to absolutely no one, as the second the plan was leaked publicly we knew it was dead in the water because the players wanted more games at a prorated salary already agreed to, while the owners plans have always been to get the players to take yet another big pay cut.
But, in what seems to just be an afterthought to the article by Rosenthal and Drellich – just kind of dropped in there is this:
“We have never denied that MLB has the ability to come back and try to persuade us to change that agreement based on their economic concerns,” Clark said. “They’ve tried unsuccessfully. In fact, Rob confirmed yesterday that, ‘We can pay you 100 percent of salary right now.’”
That last part seems awfully important, doesn’t it? Now, perhaps that is simply MLB commissioner Rob Manfred telling MLBPA director Tony Clark that he has the power to implement a 50-60 game schedule if he wants to use that power, and that it would come with 100% salary of the already agreed upon prorated by games played deal the two sides agreed to in March.
The lack of a follow up on that leaves us all to simply speculate. Some owners are really crying poor, such as the Cubs. Other teams have stated they’ll lose some money, but aren’t seemingly trying to put it in the press every day with another explanation. Of course there’s also evidence that as a whole, MLB would still make money, rather than their claim that they’d lose money, on each game played. The truth may lie somewhere in the middle. But one way to certainly find out is to have the owners open up the books for the union to see – and they’ve been unwilling to do that.
Based upon the agreement reached in March, there does seem to be given the power for MLB to invoke a schedule of their choosing as long as the players get their prorated salaries. The two sides are going to continue to talk and try to figure things out, but that does seem to be a “last resort” for the owners to play a season.