From the LA Times: Owners don’t want to pay players for more than 50 games if there are no fans in the seats. Players say that’s nonsense, and we’ve accepted all the pay cuts we’re going to in this situation.

I don’t know who’s right, but the chance of baseball in 2020 isn’t looking promising.

From The Athletic:

Earlier this week, Major League Baseball communicated its intention to schedule a dramatically shortened 2020 season unless players negotiate salary concessions. The concessions being sought are in addition to billions in player salary reductions that have already been agreed upon.

“This threat came in response to an association proposal aimed at charting a path forward. Among other things, players proposed more games, two years of expanded playoffs, salary deferrals in the event of a 2020 playoff cancellation, and the exploration of additional jewel events and broadcast enhancements aimed at creatively bringing our players to the fans while simultaneously increasing the value of our product. Rather than engage, the league replied it will shorten the season unless Players agree to further salary reductions.”

The players believe they already took one reduction when they agreed their 2020 salaries would be paid on a prorated basis, based upon the number of games played. MLB maintains the March agreement allowed it to pursue additional cuts based upon language concerning the “economic feasibility” of playing without spectators and suggests the union misrepresented the March deal to players by saying no further negotiation was necessary. The union’s bottom line is that nothing forces the players to accept another reduction.

64 thoughts on “Impasse?

  1. The Athletic:

    So even though both sides ultimately want a new deal, the owners might not be willing to play much more than 60 games at full prorated salaries, and the players might not be willing to waive their right to the grievance for much fewer than 70. At least, not without other changes that could impact the willingness on either side.

    On June 12, the league proposed a 72-game season in length, but six days later it was unclear whether it was willing to play more than 60. The union has long suspected that owners simply want to play as few games as possible to get to the postseason because of the lucrative postseason broadcast deals.

    Players, too, are livid with Manfred, believing he has tried to villainize them publicly. They also took exception with him saying the 60-game framework he discussed with Clark could form the basis of an agreement. The players viewed it as a proposal.

      • For the first time in my memory most of the sportswriters have “sided” with the players. It may be they recognize what owners in the baseball industry are doing is similar to what owners in the media industry have been doing — screw your employees whenever possible.

  2. Shaikin at the LA TImes:

    “Players remain united in their stance that a day’s work is worth a day’s pay, particularly in a situation where players and their families are being asked to take additional burdens and risks,” MLBPA negotiator Bruce Meyer wrote in a letter to deputy commissioner Dan Halem. “Given your continued insistence of hundreds of millions of dollars of additional pay reductions, we assume these negotiations are at an end.”


    The imposition of a season, assuming the absence of a last-minute agreement, would be followed by a grievance. That would be heard as the season plays out, with MLB arguing players did not negotiate in good faith over salary and the MLBPA arguing that owners did not negotiate in good faith over the length of the season, with the possibility that hundreds of millions of dollars could be awarded in damages.


    The owners proposed seasons of 82, 76, and 72 games, all rejected because they required less than prorated salaries, and because the owners packaged roughly the same amount of guaranteed money in each deal.

    MLB’s claim that the players didn’t negotiate in good faith is belied by that last paragraphs. If MLB didn’t move off that point of the same money despite the March agreement to prorate salaries, it’s hard for me to believe an arbitrator would find in its favor.

  3. Buster Olney

    The house of baseball is burning and somebody needs to put out the fire immediately, by making a deal that moves the sport forward beyond this absurd fight over increments.

    The opportunity to own the sporting stage in early July is gone. The potential goodwill (and ratings) all but certain for the first big sport out of the gate may be all but squandered.

    Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts talking about a cash-flow problem when tens of millions of people have lost their jobs? Not good. Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt, who has seen the value of his franchise multiply by at least a factor of 10, talking about how you can’t make money in baseball? Not good.

    At a time when some people are struggling to apply for unemployment benefits, nobody wants to hear about the quandaries of billionaires. Nobody should ever hear about minor leaguers having their salaries slashed, in the way that the Washington Nationals and Oakland Athletics intended to do.

  4. Also in that Shaikin column, this tidbit about the Turner billion-dollar deal MLB just signed:

    The deal covers future seasons and not the current one, but the timing of the report was not optimal for the league, four days after the owner of the St. Louis Cardinals said: “The industry isn’t very profitable, to be quite honest.”

    Owners: “Nope, we don’t make any money. We do this as a public service.”

  5. Meanwhile, the owners are getting richer while crying poormouth.

    Major League Baseball and the Players Association have yet to find common ground on the financial component that would allow them to play a modified season around the spread of the novel coronavirus, but that reportedly hasn’t stopped the league from agreeing to terms on a new postseason television deal with Turner Sports that will pay out more than $1 billion.

    The exact length and terms of the deal are unknown, according to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post. The agreement will, however, pay more than $1 billion and will allow Turner to continue airing one of the league’s championship series each October.

  6. Here we go.

    A March agreement between MLB and the MLBPA gives Manfred the ability to schedule a season of any length as long as the players are paid full prorated salaries. MLB believes the March agreement allows them to seek another round of pay reductions to account for games being played without fans, something the union has rejected. They consider the salary matter closed.


    Last month the MLBPA requested documents supporting MLB’s financial claims and those requests were only partially met. The union believes MLB has not demonstrated their financial situation is as dire as they’ve claimed, and they’re unwilling to accept another round of pay reductions without evidence.

    Meyer’s letter called out MLB’s “underhanded tactics to circumvent the union” and called their negotiating approach “one delay tactic after another.” The MLBPA believes Manfred and MLB are stalling until time runs out and Manfred has no choice but schedule a 48-54 game season because that’s all they have time to play.

  7. 4 pitchers, an outfielder and a catcher. That was the haul on Day Two of the amateur draft.

    Day One’s edition netted RHP Bobby Miller.

    Miller ranks among the hardest throwers in this year’s Draft, featuring two fastballs — a four-seamer and a sinking two-seamer — that sit in the upper-90s and maintain their velocity late into starts. That heat is complemented by a slider that occasionally touches 90 mph, a split-change with similar speed and a more traditional changeup in the low 80s.

  8. Dodgers’ first-round pick likely to violate Rule No. 1.

    Cover your ears #Dodgers fans. 1st rder Bobby Miller said Walker Buehler is his favorite pitcher to watch. I asked if he could deliver F-bombs with the same velocity as Buehler. "I can definitely do that," Miller said, calling himself a "high-energy guy" on the mound.— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) June 11, 2020

  9. Dodgers’ first-round pick likely to violate Rule No. 1.

  10. Who’s trying and who’s not? The players are the good guys and the owners are not, says NBC Sports’ Craig Calcaterra.

    The players’ first offer was for 114 games at prorated pay. Their second offer was 89 games at prorated pay with expanded playoffs for two years. That second offer is, by definition, a concession, as it calls for less money paid out to players in salaries and increased revenues for owners for two seasons.
    The owners’ first offer was for 82 games and included about $1 billion in pay cuts via doing away with prorated pay and going to pay on a “sliding scale.” Their second offer was for 76 games at 75% prorated pay but a good deal of non-guaranteed money and deferrals. As analyzed in detail by Craig Edwards at FanGraphs, the second offer would guarantee players less money than the owners’ first offer. It contains no concession and is actually moving in the wrong direction.

    The players are moving toward the owners in their offers. The owners’ offers — and their reported fallback option of simply imposing a 48-game season at prorated pay — may look slightly different because of the number of games or the specific details, but they are all calculated to get them to basically the same place: where, in the aggregate, they save about a billion dollars in salary over what was agreed to in March. And, of course, the owners are offering less baseball in every proposal.

  11. The Athletic:

    The league’s proposal Monday included a $989 million guarantee to players that was less than the $1.03 billion it offered in its initial 82-game proposal, prompting the union to consider it a worse offer and one agent to call it “a step backward.”

    A league official, however, said the proposal moved “materially” in the players’ direction and indicated a willingness by MLB to further negotiate the terms. The upside for the players in the latest proposal is their potential postseason earnings increased in total dollars from $200 million to $443 million. But the players do not believe they should be required to assume a greater share of risk in the postseason.

    Economics remains the principal area of dispute between the parties, but differences also remain on health and safety. The league, according to sources, wants players to sign an “acknowledgment of risk” waiver that would eliminate their ability to hold the league and clubs accountable if they do not create a safe work environment. The union, which does not want to forfeit the players’ rights to legal action if it believes negligence occurs, considers the potential inclusion of the waiver a “deal-breaker,” sources said.

  12. The latest offer from MLB still has poison pills.

    Major league owners made their latest pitch to players Monday: a 76-game season, but not at the prorated salaries on which the players have held firm.

    The players would make a collective $200 million more than they would if the league imposed a 50-game season, a person familiar with the proposal told The Times. The owners also pledged to remove free-agent compensation this winter, meaning a team signing a free agent would not have to surrender draft picks in return.

    But the owners’ proposal translates to the players getting 75% of prorated salaries, with a critical caveat: If the postseason is not completed for any reason — most likely a second wave of the coronavirus — the players would instead get 50% of prorated salaries. That would erase the collective $200 million gain.

  13. The site, a treasure-trove of major and minor league baseball, is simulating the 2020 season replete with standings, individual statistics and transactions through a program of Out Of The Park Baseball (OOTP)

    I stumbled across it and have looked at it a a few times. In this simulation, the Dodgers have a 20-game lead in the NL West at 47-17, easily the best mark in the majors. What is funny is that in this simulation Pollock has played in only 13 games. I guess that even in baseball’s Twilight Zone he gets injured.

    • Players are willing to compromise and, in fact, have already done so. Owners are not.

  14. There needs to be at least an 81 game season. 81 is half a season so I don’t understand why 82 keeps being what seems like what will happen if it happens.

  15. Meanwhile, the NBA, the NHL and the WNBA all are moving ahead, albeit cautiously, to resume/start their seasons.

  16. With such an intractable ownership, it’s hard to think positively about the situation.

  17. Love to see Mookie play for the Dodgers, but at this point I’m all for waiving off the 2020 season.