For the fourth time in a row, Major League Baseball has essentially offered the exact same deal to the players association, but worded slightly differently. The latest proposal from the owners is this:
Source confirms: MLB proposal to union: 72-game season with players receiving 70 percent of prorated salaries for regular season and 80 percent if posteason is completed. First @BNightengale.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 12, 2020
Now, if you remember last week, Rob Manfred noted that he has the power to implement a 48-game season. That condition was granted based on the deal in March between the players and the owners when they agreed to a prorated salary for the 2020 season.
Doing the math of 72 games at 70% of a prorated salary is the same as prorated salary for 50 games. The owners have not really changed the amount of money they are willing to pay the players since their first attempt at a renegotiation. They have their minds made up that they are spending exactly the same amount on player salary this year no matter how many games are played. What they keep doing is changing the number of games played while keeping the total salary offered at the same amount.
Adding in the 80% if the playoffs are completed takes this deal from 31% of the players expected full 162-game pay to 35%. Every single offer Major League Baseball has made has fallen exactly into this same area. They are the guy in fantasy baseball who emails you an offer “I’ll trade you Yadier Molina for Joey Votto”, and you say no. Then they email you and say “how about you give me Joey Votto and I’ll give you Yadier Molina?” and expect you to somehow now be tricked into saying yes, this is a better deal for me.
As you would expect, the players immediately responded on social media laughing at, mocking, explaining how bad this “new” offer is, but nothing tops what Andrew McCutchen made:
The League and players explained in Father/son duo titled “Juice vs Water.”
(Forgive my delayed voice) pic.twitter.com/9Zi8ncvpQW
— andrew mccutchen (@TheCUTCH22) June 12, 2020
I’ll have to run this one by Redleg Nation founder and movie reviewer superstar (trademark pending) Chad Dotson, but I personally would like to nominate that piece of art for an Oscar in the short-film of the year category.
With all of that said, Baseball America’s JJ Cooper brought up a very interesting point this afternoon.
1. One thing I'll keep noting. All the reporting we have (I have not confirmed independently) says the March 26 agreement between MLB/MLBPA allows commissioner to set the schedule, but the commissioner is required to make “best efforts to play as many games as possible.”
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) June 12, 2020
That “best efforts to play as many games as possible” thing is actually quite important. The current offer would have teams begin playing mid-July and the regular season ending on September 27th. Assuming there were 48-52 games played, as the threat has been from Major League Baseball if there’s no agreement made, then there would be 18-22 off days during “the regular season”. That’s how many off days are scheduled for a full 162-game season. I’m not a lawyer, but that doesn’t add up to “best efforts” to play as many games as possible.
Perhaps that means that Major League Baseball would actually try to either push back the start date of the season and have fewer off days to avoid a potential legal battle. Or perhaps it means that they would simply carve out a few extra games to be played and just bite the financial bullet they keep talking about in order to avoid a potential legal battle. We’ll find out together, I guess.