Report: Players counter MLB proposal with 114-game season, no further salary cuts
The Major League Baseball Players Association has sent a counterproposal to the league’s 82-game, bracket-ascending salary slash proposal from last week, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The MLB proposal was loudly rejected by the MLBPA, with the players offering up their own solution.
The union’s proposal includes a 114-game regular-season schedule, deferred salaries in the event the postseason is canceled, as well as the option for all players to opt out of a potential 2020 season due to coronavirus concerns.
Baseball is hoping to be the first of the four major leagues to return to play. Players expect the owners to reject this counterproposal, which would feature a June 30 start and an Oct. 31 end to the regular season.
At this point, the owners and the players are too far apart, but there is some outside hope they can meet somewhere in the middle.
If one thing was made clear from the league’s counterproposal, it’s that a deal needs to happen quite quickly. The proposed June 30 start date for the regular season calls for a sense of urgency, as players have already stated they will need three weeks to get the gears in motion before the start of the 2020 season.
That would leave only one week to hammer out an agreement.
MLB owners had proposed an ascending-scale series of salary cuts on top of prorated salaries over 82 games, presented in a bracket-style fashion that would have some of the league’s best-paid players see only a small portion of their full-fledged salaries. The initial proposal also included a bonus structure for the postseason, as the league feared a second wave of the coronavirus could bring action to a halt.
This was outright rejected by the MLBPA and met with a counterproposal that makes zero concessions when it comes to salary cuts besides the agreed-upon prorated salary.
The union-proposed deferrals would only take place if the playoffs were canceled, totaling $100 million. Deferrals would only apply to players whose contracts are $10 million or more and include interest to make them whole.
To top it off, the union had other requests in their proposal, including:
- Expanded playoffs for two years; MLB’s proposal suggests one year of a postseason that goes from 10 teams to 14.
- A salary advance of $100 million to split among players during the so-called “spring training 2.0” that leads up to the regular season.
- Additional commitment to players wearing microphones on the field and other broadcast enhancements.
- An offer to hold events such as an offseason All-Star Game or Home Run Derby to generate additional revenue.
The two sides simply couldn’t be further apart in negotiations, but this counterproposal was meant to send a warning shot to the owners and the league. If an MLB season is to happen at all, they must try to meet in the middle instead of trying to have their way as they’ve done in the past.