If we're getting a Major League Baseball season in 2020, we're getting it soon. There's just no other way around this. Per ESPN's Jeff Passan, "The long-awaited proposal from MLB on an economic plan for this year will be sent to the union early next week."
As MLB and the MLB Players Association continue to work back and forth on a deal to get baseball back in 2020, one major snag persists:
Money. Moolah. Dough.
That's what it's all about, because what else would it be about?
Per Passan, "the short- and long-term futures of the sport ride on [a 2020 deal]." Funny how that works. They don't figure out the money now, and the problem will only grow later. But if we're getting big-league baseball back — fans or not — in 2020, the players and the owners have to find a middle ground that suits them.
Right now, the issue is this: Players already agreed to take a prorated salary in 2020. So, for example, if an 81-game schedule comes to fruition (vs. the normal 162-game slate), players will receive 50 percent of their salary. Easy enough.
Here's where it gets difficult: MLB is now asking the players to take another cut. With revenues plummeting due to the coronavirus pandemic and gate revenues a wash with no fans in the stands, the MLB will make a small portion of its usual $10 billion for the upcoming season. They're getting hammered, and they want the players to absorb more of the blow.
The players, of course, are not thrilled with this idea.
"I'm sorry you guys think differently, but the risk is way the h--- higher and the amount of money I'm making is way lower," Rays All-Star pitcher Blake Snell recently said on a Twitch stream. "Why would I think about doing that? Y'all gotta understand, man, for me to go — for me to take a pay cut is not happening because the risk is through the roof. It's a shorter season. Less pay."
Dodgers star pitcher Clayton Kershaw responded to Snell's comments in a controlled fashion, but it's clear where he stands, too:
“It was probably a little bold in what he said," Kershaw said when asked about Snell's comments on a recent edition of The Dan Patrick Show. "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.”
A common position here is that players are being "greedy" in all this. They're millionaires. A fraction of their salary is still more than most Americans will ever see in a year. That's true, but it's also ignorant. They agreed to a deal to take 50 percent of their pay already. They're highly specialized individuals who worked to earn these lofty salaries, and they're absolutely entitled to ensure they get it. Kinda like the owners here, right?
The positive side in all this is that the health-and-safety factors in these pandemic times are relatively set. Both sides seem OK with the current plans in place to ensure their physical health — which includes up to 14,500 coronavirus tests per week, social distancing, and all that good stuff.
That said, it remains unclear if players can just opt to sit the season out if or when it does begin. In the recent health-and-safety protocol draft, Passan reports, "the language exempted 'high-risk individuals' from having to participate in the 2020 MLB season."
The 2020 MLB season, if it's going to happen, is going to look different. Concessions will be made on all sides. Money will be lost.
At present nobody knows exactly what that looks like, but the clock is ticking.
We're getting an agreement soon — or we're not getting baseball in 2020.
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