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:

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:

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.

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.

16 Responses

  1. Klugo

    Oh for Pete’s sakes! These owners man. 3 identical offers followed by basically an “offer” that yields them the same as a 50 game MLB imposed season. These guys haven’t moved one bit.
    Just play 72 games pro rated and let’s get on with it.

  2. Shaggy

    I say if the owners don’t come up with a decision by Friday switch from the major leaguers playing, to the minor leaguers playing

  3. Colorado Red

    Two types of arbitration, Binding and non-binding.
    No way owners take binding, especially when they have to open the books.

  4. Stock

    To be honest the only thing that has changed from the players offer is the # of games.

    Here is what I would propose:

    100 game schedule.
    32 man roster for the entire season (maybe even 32 the first week)
    Games start July 6
    Play every day and twice on Sunday (hence the 32 man roster for the entire season)

    If no playoffs: 50% of prorata salary (this matches what owners base offer is).
    If playoffs: 80% – 85% of prorata salary (this gets you to 92%-98% of the Reds current projected team salary).

    Owners get what they need if no playoffs. Players get pretty close to what they requested in last offer.

  5. Doug Gray

    The players are not ignoring the clause. They actually asked for the owners to show them information that makes it “not economically feasible” to honor that contract. The owners did not provide the information. Therefore the players continue to stick to their “we want our prorated pay that we agreed on in March” stance.

    • Doug Gray

      I mean I guess that’s fair, though there’s no reason at all to believe they aren’t telling the truth given that we’ve got owners on the record saying “we’ve never opened the books before, so why would we do it now?”

  6. Stock

    If the owners settled on a 50 game season, the players could take it to arbitration and fight for more money but they would lose. They have a signed contract. Hard to win a case against a signed contract.

  7. jim walker

    Along the same lines, news also was breaking this week that the NHL and NHLPA are just now starting to get into the devils of the logistical and financial details of how their restart will work.

    The salary cap is supposedly very hard and fast as to revenue %’s; so, I am not sure what is left there. Logistically, they will play at 4 hub sites. There seems to be a lot left to be settled there in regard to quarantining the players and possibly how the rosters will work.

  8. jim walker

    Agree. And who is to say the owners won’t come up with another show stopper point if the players cave on salary? I think what is really going on from the owners’ side is digging in for the next CBA negotiations which come after the 2021 season.

  9. Don

    Manfred is an employee of the owners. He is required to take their position as a condition of maintaining his employment. He is not an independent person whom has a separate idealistic role to do what is in “the best interest of baseball”.

    The reason for not imposing a 72 game season under the March agreement is that requires more payer salary than the owners want to spend.

    There is obviously a majority of owners whom have decided 50ish games at a prorated salary is all that they want to spend on player salaries in 2020.

    As the owners of the business it is their decision as to is the game of professional baseball is played in 2020 or not. That is what being the owner of a business means.

    The owners are counting on the players caving under expectation that 60% of the players are still in the team control phase of player salary and are getting more needy of income in 2020 than the smaller % of players which financially never need to play another game and have earned enough money for them and multiple generations of their family to live comfortably.

    The owners are trying to split the players union into their own fighting segments.

    As has been said “Never let a crisis go to waste”

  10. TR

    As a management type, it’s getting a little too legal for me. With compromise not around the corner I don’t think there’s going to be a 2020 season, and who knows, maybe not a season a few years after that. As an old guy whose been a fan since games were only on radio, I’ll always be a Reds fan as long as I’m around. But, for younger people it’s a different story. They have more options during the warmer months, and IMO, many will say bye bye to MLB. With baseball, and in other areas, the pandemic has been more devastating than need be because of a lack of leadership.

    • Colorado Red

      The first comish, yes, now, no.
      He is a puppet of the owners.

  11. Colorado Red


    I think you hit the nail on the head. The next CBA is going to have a strike.
    It could kill MLB for both sides.