MLB proposes sliding pay scale; players call it 'disappointing'

Dave Uram
May 27, 2020 - 11:09 am
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Bill Streicher/USA Today Network

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Major League Baseball’s first economic proposal to the players union is a sliding pay scale — which players found “extremely disappointing,” according to the Associated Press.

The initial proposal supposedly suggested a 50-50 revenue split, but those rumors were not well received either.

“It became clear that the revenue split was a non-starter,” MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman said. “The union was not going to go for that. Philosophically, they were against it.”

Instead, the organization proposed a sliding scale, in which players who make less money would take smaller cuts, and those who make the most concede larger ones.

“The union isn’t too fond of the offer, I’ll say that,” Heyman said. “They might be amenable to a slighted pay scale. It’s just that the pay scale drops too precipitously for them.”

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Under that proposition, players like Bryce Harper and Mike Trout — stars of the game — would take the biggest hits.

“The cuts are too draconian for the union and they’re gonna have to counter,” Heyman added.

According to the Associated Press, a player whose salary is the big league minimum of $563,500 would take a 10% pay cut. A player who makes between $563,501 and $1 million would take a 27.5% cut. Somebody who makes between $1,000,001 and $5 million would lose 50%. 

Then, a $5,000,001 salary through $10 million would lose 60%. A $10,000,0001 salary through $20 million would lose 70%, and anyone who makes more than $20 million would lose 80%.

The prorated formula of 82/162 — 82 games played out of the original 162 — which was agreed upon in March, would go into effect as well.  

While Heyman points out the union isn’t too fond of this and will counter, he’s not viewing these developments as negatively as others.

“The first offer is never met with approval at all. It’s always met with bellyaching on the other side, whatever side it is,” he said, “so I don’t think we should be discouraged by the fact that it’s gonna take a bit to do this deal.”

This proposal also puts postseason bonus money up for grabs, with the higher portions going to the players who make more.

MLB added in a statement: “We made a proposal to the union that is completely consistent with the economic realities facing our sport. We look forward to a responsive proposal from the MLBPA.”

The MLB Players Association, as of Wednesday morning, did not make any official remarks on these developments.

Heyman believes the two sides will reach an understanding and not let a disagreement over money — especially during a pandemic — cancel the baseball season. He thinks it would take a setback health-wise for the season not to happen.