Written by Chris Kubala
The exchange of ideas and proposals between the owners of Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association has been going on for the better part of a month with the two sides still looking to hammer out an agreement to get back on the field. Originally, the season was scheduled to start March 26 before being paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 12. Since that point in time, we’ve seen a slew of proposals from both sides as they try to reach some common ground that would lead to an agreement.
This week alone, the two sides presented proposals to try and meet in the middle. On Monday, the owners fired off a 76-game proposal that would give players 75 percent of their pro-rated salaries in addition to a 16-team playoff field. Under that concept, players would receive only 50 percent of their pro-rated salaries if the postseason was canceled due to a recurrence of the coronavirus. The MLBPA fired back with an 89-game proposal with full pro-rated salaries on Tuesday night, which wasn’t overly well received by the owners, who are trying to get the players to back off on their demands a bit.
Friday morning brought another new offer from the owners in an effort to bridge the chasm between the two sides. The owners pitched a proposal of a 70 to 75-game schedule with a payout between 80 and 85 percent of the players’ pro-rated salaries. That proposal still includes the potential for expanded playoffs and teams that sign a player that rejected a qualifying offer would not lose a draft pick. The team that did lose a player under those circumstances would still receive a compensatory draft selection. According to Jon Heyman, the owners’ proposal will likely sit at 72 games with a higher percentage of pro-rated salaries guaranteed should the postseason not come to fruition.
It’s going to be interesting to see how the players respond at this point in time. The owners have given a fair amount of ground in an effort to try and bridge the gap between the sides. If the players continue to hold their ground about wanting full pro-rated salaries for the amount of games played, this one could well be another one filed under good try but no success. With each passing day, the amount of games potentially played dwindles as the owners will continue to dig in their heels about being done by the end of October. In that scenario, the players would find themselves getting less money than they would under previous proposals as there will be less games for them to be compensated for overall.
Compromise requires two sides in order to get something done. As the saying goes, the way that one knows that they’ve reached a good compromise is when both sides go away a little unhappy, because in that scenario, no one gets everything they wanted. The owners have done their part to follow that mantra: it’s now time for the players to bend a little if they hope to get something done.