The Major League Baseball Players Association is finished playing games with regards to negotiating with the owners of the 30 teams in Major League Baseball. They have essentially told MLB that they don’t feel they are negotiating with any actual faith and that they are done, and that MLB needs to just tell them how many games they will be playing this year and when and where the players need to show up to begin the season. Here’s the statement from the MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark:
Players want to play. It’s who we are and what we do.
Since March, the Association has made it clear that out No.1 focus is playing the fullest season possible, as soon as possible, as safely as possible. Players agreed to billions in monetary concessions as a means to that end, and in the face of repeated media leaks and misdirection we made additional proposals to inject new revenues into the industry – proposals that would benefit the owners, players, broadcast partners, and fans alike.
It’s now become apparent that these efforts have fallen upon deaf ears. In recent days, owners have decried the supposed unprofitability of owning a baseball team and the Commissioner has repeatedly threatened to schedule a dramatically shortened season unless players agree to hundreds of millions in further concessions. Our response has been consistent that such concessions are unwarranted, would be fundamentally unfair to players, and that our sport deserves the fullest 2020 season possible. These remain our positions today, particularly in light of new reports regarding MLB’s national televisions rights- information we requested from the league weeks ago but were never provided.
As a result, it unfortunately appears that further dialogue with the league would be futile. It’s time to get back to work. Tell us when and where.
There’s a lot going on here. If you missed the news earlier today, which Clark references in the statement, Turner Sports and MLB agreed to a new playoff deal. That deal is worth $1,000,000,000 – first reported by Andrew Marchand of the New York Post. The previous deal was worth $350,000,000. The deals weren’t for the same length, but the new deal is still worth 40% more per year than the previous deal was.
But let’s also talk about what it appears that the MLBPA is attempting to force MLB to do here. As you have probably heard by now, Commissioner Rob Manfred has the power to implement a season as long as the players get their prorated pay. The threat has been that he would do that and possibly have a 48 or 50 game schedule if the players weren’t willing to take less pay for more games. As we’ve noted many times here (and others have also noted in other publications), MLB has basically offered the same exact salary to the players every single proposal they’ve made and it’s always been nearly identical to what the players would get for a 50 game season where they were paid their prorated salary.
The players are now just telling MLB to implement the schedule. The “force their hand” part has a reason to it, too. As a part of the agreement the two sides made in March that the owners have been trying to renegotiate their way out of, one stipulation is that MLB would play as many games as possible. A 50 game schedule right now would in no way meet that standard, and if MLB tries it, the players will file a grievance that they would almost assuredly win given that such a schedule that started a month from now and ending on September 27th – the day in which all of the previous MLB proposals have had the regular season ending – would have as many off days as a full 162 game schedule does.
The players are forcing the owners to either pay them their prorated salaries for a short schedule and then go to court over the agreed upon contract, or to just set a longer schedule and pay them their prorated contracts. The players tried to make some concessions. But the owners really didn’t – they offered a 50-cent piece the first time. Then they offered two quarters, followed up by an offer for four dimes and two nickels, and finally just offered ten nickels.
According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, the MLBPA demands that MLB makes a decision and informs them of it by the end of business on Monday, June 15th. Hold onto your butts, folks, this is going to get really interesting.
From MLBPA letter: "We demand that you inform us of your plans by close of business on Monday, June 15."
This isn't to suggest Monday will be the end of this and we'll know what sort of baseball season there will be, but the players are asking for a season and asking by Monday.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 13, 2020