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MLB And Players’ Union Are Still Haggling Over Pay Days Ahead Of Deadline

By  Tim Pearce
BOSTON, MA - MAY 25: The American flag is dropped over the Green Monster on Memorial Day as the Major League Baseball season is postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic on May 25, 2020 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Major League Baseball and the players’ union are at a standoff over proposed pay for the 2020 season with days to go until their informal deadline of June 1.

The MLB initially offered to split revenue for the 2020 season 50-50 between the teams and players on May 11. The organization has changed its stance since then to propose what it says are more viable options for the MLB and players for the 2020 season.

The teams presented their latest offer to the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) on Tuesday, but it was met with widespread disappointment among the league’s athletes, according to The Associated Press. The organization offered a regressive pay system where lower salaries would earn most of what they were promised, but players’ pay would drop by larger percentages in larger pay brackets.

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

Under the new offer, the regressive pay structure would hit players with the highest salaries the hardest. Players making the league minimum of $563,500 would keep 90% of their salary. Players in the highest bracket would keep 20% of their salary above $20 million. Finally, salaries would then be prorated for a season shortened from 162 games to 82 games, a nearly 50% cut.

According to league calculations, a player making $35 million would instead make about $7.8 million. A player making the league minimum would make $262,217.

The union has not approved any offer yet made by the MLB. Union officials have discussed deferring pay until 2021, but team owners worry that deferred salaries would just push off the financial strain for another year, not solve it, according to The Athletic.

“We want to play baseball. This pandemic is going to have a profound impact on all of us. Players are willing to make sacrifices and surely will to get back on the field. However, we will not sacrifice our principles or the future generations of players to do so,” said Andrew Miller, a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals and a player representative on the union’s executive board. “While I’m disappointed in where MLB is starting the discussion, if this is truly about getting the game to our fans, I have confidence we will find common ground. I know that our players will do their part.”

The league and the players’ union have set an unofficial deadline of June 1 to wrap up negotiations so that teams can go through their second spring training and start the season in early July.

The union has signaled it may need more time. The MLB has turned over financial documents and projects for the 2020 season at the union’s request to prove financial hardship. Union officials have said that the documents are incomplete and that more time is needed to check the MLB’s claims.

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