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Report: MLBPA ‘very disappointed’ with MLB’s financial proposal, ‘significant gap’ remains

Bryce Harper reacts after striking out
Aug 21, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper (3) reacts after striking out against the Boston Red Sox during the ninth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

If there is going to be a Major League Baseball season this summer, MLB owners will need to come up with a much better offer than the plan they submitted to the players’ union on Tuesday.

MLB owners submitted a financial proposal to the MLB Players Association on Tuesday that would create a sliding pay scale for player compensation this season. The MLBPA looked over the offer on Tuesday afternoon and were very disappointed by it, per The Athletic’s Evan Drellich.

MLB owners originally contemplated offering the players’ union a 50-50- split of the revenue for the upcoming season. The MLBPA blasted the notion publicly, suggesting it would open the door to a salary cap and calling out team owners for only agreeing to split revenue during an economic crisis.

Under the official proposal, which owners approved on Tuesday, MLB’s highest-paid players would take a significant financial hit this season. Players towards the bottom of MLB’s salary scale would take the smallest financial hit and could still receive a significant portion of their prorated salary this season.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the sliding pay scale could lead to the game’s top players receiving less than 40% of their owed salaries for the full season. It would mark an even greater pay cut than the agreement MLB and the MLBPA made in March, when players agreed to prorated salaries. As a result, the MLBPA believes there is a significant camp before a resolution can be reached.

MLB officials have argued that the previous deal was contingent on fans being able to attend games this season, which is no longer a possibility. The league points to the players’ union agreeing to negotiate in good faith, but player representatives believe the original deal should stand.

MLB also suggested it would lose $4 billion if it stuck by the agreement for prorated salaries over an 82-game season, but that claim has been partially debunked.

This is expected to be the first in several proposals from the league with hopes of starting an MLB season in July. Both sides must also agree to safety measures to ensure players’ health. This past week, the MLBPA submitted a counter-proposal to MLB’s initial safety guidelines and COVID-19 testing protocols.

There is a lot of ground to be covered on a plan for the 2020 season. Both the players and team owners will need to make greater sacrifices for baseball to be played this season. Given everything that is at stake, with MLB potentially risking losing more fans in the years ahead, this week could be a pivotal point for the game’s future.

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