Report: MLB owners approve sliding-scale payment plan for players

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Boston Red Sox pitching coach Dana LeVangie, left, walks back to the dugout after a conference on the mound with Chris Sale, centre, during the fifth inning of the first game of a baseball doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

MLB owners approved a plan on Tuesday that addresses economic issues relating to the 2020 season and includes a sliding-scale compensation structure for players, according to USA Today Sports’ Bob Nightengale.

The plan, was sent to the MLB players’ association on Tuesday afternoon, does not include the 50-50 revenue split between owners and players that owners had agreed on two weeks prior, Nightengale reported.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers reported that players “bristled” upon learning about potential cuts that exceed what was agreed upon by both sides in March (i.e. prorated salaries for players based on how many games were played in 2020).

The sliding scale for compensation would result in the highest-earning players taking the largest pay cuts, while those with lesser salaries would receive most of their guaranteed salaries.

Passan and Rogers reported that the exact size of pay cuts was unclear, but it was possible that the highest-paid players would receive less than 40 per cent of their full salaries.

Ex-Blue Jay Marcus Stroman was among the players who chimed in on social media Tuesday, saying that the season “is not looking promising” and he plans to embark on some “life-after-baseball projects.”

The reported (and public) displeasure expressed by players does not mean a deal won’t be reached.

MLB insider Jon Heyman noted that “the sides are determined not to let economics stand in the way of a season” and the league remains hopeful that spring training can resume by June 10.

Now that owners have approved this plan, and subsequently passed it on to the MLBPA, negotiations may formally begin between the two sides — with a goal to start the season by July 4 still in play.

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