MLB expected to present season-saving plan to players’ union, but pay could be an issue

Dave Uram
May 12, 2020 - 11:56 am

UPDATED: 8:55 p.m. 

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — On Monday, Major League Baseball owners approved a proposal that could result in the baseball season re-starting this summer, according to the Associated Press.

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As reported over the weekend, this plan includes: roughly 82 games, an early July start, a schedule based on region, games in home ballparks whenever possible, no fans in the stands at first, a designated hitter in the National League, and expanded playoffs.

However, one big issue expected to arise in these talks is salary. Baseball was expected to propose a 50/50 revenue split to the players, which, based on leaks, would not be well received by the union. In March, the two sides agreed to prorated salaries — so this would amount to even more cuts. 

MLB’s shared-revenue proposal is an attempt to make up for some of the revenue they’ll lose without fans in the stands.

According to the NY Post, The Athletic and USA Today Tuesday evening, the two sides met, but MLB did not make its economic proposal, which was supposed to spark disagreement.

Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark told The Athletic that this concept is a salary cap. In the same article, a league official argued it’s different from other major professional sports, because there is no maximum and minimum payroll.

The infamous strike in 1994-95 that wiped out the 1994 World Series was based on a disagreement about a revenue split — in other words, a salary cap.

“These concepts are beyond the spectrum of what players have both fought for and derived from the CBA from inception: salary caps, methodologies like this are something far afield from our working relationship with Major League Baseball,” prominent agent Scott Boras told the Associated Press. “You certainly know why they would suggest it.”

The former Marlins president and current CBS Sports podcaster David Samson told SportsRadio 94WIP on Monday night that there will be leaks during the talks to try to make the other side look bad in the public eye.

“I don’t think it’s gonna be a quiet negotiation by any stretch,” Samson told WIP evening host Joe Giglio. “That said … both sides realize that it’s pretty tone deaf to not have baseball because of an economic disagreement.”

Samson emphasized that safety for everyone involved — players, coaches, staff and other essential personnel who would be at the games is of the utmost importance. Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle sent out a series of tweets Monday detailing such concerns.

Former Major Leaguer and Phillie Trevor Plouffe was one of the first to report that MLB is hoping to start up in July. He’s been communicating with players, and he told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark that the players don’t want to change their agreement from March.

“But I do believe that, if the owners offered some sort of deferred payment, possibly with interest, that the players would go for that,” Plouffe said. “But that’s gonna be a hurdle …. It’s not just the salary, and it’s not all about the money. It’s about setting a precedent for the future.”

Even if the two sides reach an agreement, which is not a long shot at all, health remains the main issue. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney trusts the Phillies and those involved will focus on safety.

“Frankly, personally, I would love to watch a baseball game — even from my couch,” Kenney said. “You’re stuck in the house, and watching re-runs of ‘Law And Order’ for the third time are gettin old.”