As MLB and the MLBPA prepare for a meeting on Tuesday, the league isn’t planning on proposing the full revenue-sharing system that has been rumoured in the past few weeks, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich.
Instead, say Rosenthal and Drellich, MLB plans to present the Players’ Association with a choice of either taking their prorated salaries — which were calculated in March — or accepting team owners’ wish for a possible percentage-based cut in another way.
NBC Sports’ Chuck Garfien also reports that the league is prepared to “compromise” on the previous 50-50 revenue split.
As baseball fans still await an Opening Day in 2020 due to COVID-19, MLB and team owners have attempted to mitigate their supposed cash-flow problems in a season that might be played entirely without fans, if at all. Some players have been vocal about their discontent with the revenue-split plan — which is, in effect, a salary cap — including 2018 Cy Young winner Blake Snell, who said he wouldn’t play under those conditions, and starter Trevor Bauer, who called MLB’s plans “laughable.”
While the union remains resolute on not accepting more pay cuts, one solution that might work for both parties is a salary deferral from 2020 to following years, according to Rosenthal and Drellich. But the league might still see a problem with that, the reporters say, since it could potentially only delay the current cashflow problems.
Another reported starting point could be a proposal by the union which would allow players to receive their prorated salaries based on the number of games played, with some money being deferred to upcoming years. However, with MLB planning for a regular season of around 82 games instead of the regular 162, Rosenthal and Drellich report that the league is still worried it might lose money under those circumstances, unless players take another pay cut.
MLB has a mid-June target date for the start of the season. The league issued a 67-page health-and-safety protocol, which was met with some counterarguments, but overall acceptance, by the union. With the health protocols moving forward smoothly, the pace of these salary negotiations will be pivotal in determining whether baseball is indeed close to a start.