After collectively agreeing on a proposal for the 2020 season, Major League Baseball team owners must now find common ground with the Players Association to ensure games are held this summer.
The two sides began discussions last week, largely touching base on player safety issues. They also seem to be at odds over economics, which is expected to be addressed in the coming days.
Owners are requesting that players take further pay cuts due to fans not being able to attend games this year — at least initially. The union, however, has maintained it will not accept anything short of the prorated salaries previously agreed to in March.
The prospect of a further reduced salary has understandably frustrated players, including Tampa Bay Rays ace Blake Snell, who revealed that he wouldn’t risk playing this season unless fairly compensated.
During a recent appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show,” Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw deemed Snell’s comments bold, but largely agreed with the point he was trying to make:
“It was probably a little bold in what he said. I think where he’s coming from, we’ve already made a pay concession. We’re going to get paid prorated based on the season. So if we play 81 games, we’re going to get half our pay. We agreed to that already, and I know guys kind of felt like that was what we decided as a union.
“Obviously, no fans changes things, I guess, for some owners, but we’re still playing the same game. We’re still playing baseball, we still agreed to our salaries based on that.”
Once it became evident Opening Day would be postponed due to concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, MLB agreed to send the union a lump sum of $150 million to cover April and May, in addition to guaranteeing players a prorated salary if and when the regular season began.
However, team owners are now claiming the prorated salaries were only contingent on fans being allowed to attend games this season. Now facing potentially significant financial losses due to the lack of ticket sales, they are requesting players accept a 50-50 revenue split.
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