MLBPA stands firm against additional pay cuts, 'resoundingly' rejects league's plan

Ross Houston
June 5, 2020

"Rather than engage, the league replied it will shorten the season unless players agree to further salary reductions", Clark added.

The union's statement came one day after Major League Baseball rejected the union's most recent proposal - a 114-game regular season with players being paid prorated shares of their original 2020 salaries - and signaled it did not intend to make a counterproposal, but instead was prepared to assert its right to implement a much shorter season, of between 40-60 games, in the absence of a deal. The owners, fearful of bearing responsibility for all of the revenue losses playing without fans in attendance, said they could only offer players 100 percent of their prorated salaries in an approximately 50-game season.

Major League Baseball last week proposed an 82-game season with an additional sliding scale of pay cuts that would leave a player at the $563,500 minimum with 47% of his original salary and top stars Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole at less than 22% of the $36 million they had been set to earn.

The statement went on to refer to the league's stance as a "threat", as opposed to the players' proposal, which in Clark's view, was created to move the negotiations forward.

Clark said a conference call with the MLBPA's eight-person executive board, which includes Max Scherzer, and several other player leaders concluded "the league's demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected".

As per the current agreement signed in March, if there is a 2020 season, players will be paid on a prorated basis. The owners want a shorter season, around 50 games.

The parties agreed to players receiving prorated salaries for any games played in 2020.

"This threat came in response to an Association proposal aimed at charting a path forward".

That leaves the players and owners at an impasse, casting further doubt on the future of the 2020 season. The more games played, the more money the players make, but owners say they can't afford to play additional games unless the players take another cut in salary. Among other things, Players proposed more games, two years of expanded playoffs, salary deferrals in the event of a 2020 playoff cancellation, and the exploration of additional jewel events and broadcast enhancements aimed at creatively bringing our Players to the fans while simultaneously increasing the value of our product. "That's not worth the risk and I just don't mean COVID-19" one player said earlier this week. "But we can not do this alone".

"Important work remains to be done in order to safely resume the season", Clark said.

Players aren't giving up hope for a season but they claim they need the league's help to make that happen. "We stand ready to complete that work and look forward to getting back on the field".

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