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.

8 Responses

  1. Melvin

    For years I’ve been on the side of the owners basically feeling that the players largely are over payed but relative to the amount of money the owners are receiving in so many different ways not to mention the increase in value of their teams the players may be under payed. Eventually I’d like to see minor league salaries increased as they’re receiving what I understand amounts to be minimum wages. As to the situation right now MLB has a chance to be winners in the public eyes like never before. This country needs sports desperately and baseball, America’s pastime, has a chance regain the hearts of so many who have forgotten that. In my mind the owners are the ones who should stop playing games and do the right thing. Otherwise baseball may be losers like never before and that would be very sad.

    • Sean D

      That’s the most important part, however you feel about how much the players are paid that just how it is, this disagreement about how much of the given contract the owners should live up to. In my opinion the prorated salary makes sense and they should play as many games under that salary. Obviously I don’t know enough, but I would bet the owners would certainly be able to do that

  2. Mark Moore

    I’m hoping something happens, but I’m sadly prepared for nothing. If it does, I really hope we can get MLB.tv without any blackout markets so we can watch whatever games we want.

    I’m also wondering what happens with the Minor Leagues? The big clubs need them for all sorts of reasons … or is that what the 30-man roster is supposed to take care of?

  3. ClevelandRedsFan

    Owners have essentially decided there is only so much they are willing to pay players this year. Whether that is spread over 50, 80, or 100+ games, the owners won’t increase that amount.

    It will be interesting to see if players want the fewest or most games logistically possible. How many of us, during a pandemic, would really chose to work more and then expose ourselves more.

    For the sake of a reasonable season, I for one, want to see at least 80 games.

    • Sliotar

      @ClevelandRedsFan wrote

      “For the sake of a reasonable season, I for one, want to see at least 80 games.”

      Yep.

      Remember when it felt like MLB had some momentum … might be the first league playing in the summer?

      All that momentum is gone…. and, IMO … some of the biggest critics of a potential 50-game season would be MLB players and MLB media…. of top, of course, social media.

      At this point, any agreement to play in 2020 is going to come across more like a lengthy divorce settlement than a cause for celebration.

    • RedNat

      Your second paragraph is why I feel the players look reaaly bad right now.
      it just seems the owners are more in touch with what is going on. Playing more games and extending the season in to November makes absolutely no sense from a pblic health perspective so it was an easy block from the owners.

      the purpose of having a season in 2020 is not to make a lot of money or recreate a normal season. it is to give Americans a distraction. something to talk about besides covid statistics and civil disobedience. obviously, no matter what happens, this season will have an aterik. But , I think even 50 games would at least help heal the country.

      • Matt WI

        Right? I was a bit confused how the players could position health and safety as a reason they need to get paid (which, sure), but then propose a longer season that would only increase exposure time for everyone?

        Get it done people. The NBA has now beat you to the punch with a plan and instead of meaningless summer league scrimmages, they’ll be going full on into some playoffs right when baseball is usually the only game in town.

  4. RedsFan11

    UGH…….

    Play ball please 🙁