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Mike Trout’s paltry salary leaves players outraged by MLB proposal

MLB, Mike Trout, Gerrit Cole, Rob Manfred

A recent MLB proposal has left players outraged, as the deep salary cuts would affect all players but especially the highest-paid stars.

Take Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout for example — the highest-paid player in 2020. Trout would  make $5,748,577 of his $37,666,666 full-fledged salary under a proposed 82-game season. That equates to 15.3% of his actual salary.

The MLBPA is not happy:

“The proposal involves massive additional pay cuts and the union is extremely disappointed,” the MLB Players Association said in a statement to ESPN’s Enrique Rojas. “We’re also far apart on health and safety protocols.”

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers, this initial proposal would impose a tax-like ascending scale:

  • $0 to $563,500 (MLB minimum) paid at 90%
  • $563,501 to $1 million paid at 72.5%
  • $1,000,001 to $5 million paid at 50%
  • $5,000,001 to $10 million paid at 40%
  • $10,000,001 to $20 million paid at 30%
  • $20,000,001 and up paid at 20%

Young players who get the minimum $563,500 would receive the vast majority of their salaries, receiving only a 10% cut. Yet players like Trout, who have climbed to the top of their profession, would be badly hurt by this measure.

Trout’s prorated salary over 82 games would be $19,065,843, but he would have that base salary of $5,748,577, assuming he plays all 82 games. Trout could make upward of $2.5 million more under the proposal if the league completes the World Series — a bonus structure put in place as the league fears a second wave of the coronavirus.

New York Mets starting pitcher Marcus Stroman was not at all impressed by the league’s proposal to get the season underway:

The proposal got a lightning-quick refusal from the union, as players are reportedly “livid” about that initial pitch:

“I have never seen a collective response like I’m seeing today from the players,” an MLB agent told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. “They are livid.”

While this proposal would help low-earning players keep the majority of their money, it would greatly hurt the highest-paid players, who would see their earnings greatly reduced:

Gerrit Cole, who signed a nine-year, $324 million deal with the New York Yankees in the offseason to become their ace pitcher, would be perhaps in a more difficult position given that missing a couple of starts would greatly reduce his salary:

“Here’s where I think MLB is screwing this up,” an agent told Rosenthal. “They are approaching this like a CBA negotiation. CBA negotiations usually happen in the offseason where players are disconnected, not paying attention and the deals are agreed upon before the season, so they don’t feel any financial impact unless they are a free agent the next year and get screwed.

“Since their whole paycheck is on the line and there’s nothing else going on in their lives, they’re completely invested, they’re getting educated and they’re following every step. It’s eye-opening for a lot of them. They’re seeing a greedy side of the owners and (commissioner Rob) Manfred that they have ignored in the past. This is gonna spill into the CBA negotiations for next year and the players are gonna take a stronger position.”

Players have been greatly discouraged by how the league has put the pressure on its top players to take the bulk of the financial responsibility. Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Brett Anderson did not mince words reacting to the MLB’s recent pitch:

As far as first pitches go, this is a wild pitch on a 3-2 count and the bases are loaded for the MLBPA to counter next.