How low would Pirates’ payroll go?


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Pirates owner Bob Nutting in Bradenton, Fla. during spring training. -- AP

On Tuesday, Major League Baseball owners passed and submitted a proposal that the Players Association will, very likely, turn down.

After all, that proposal would result in all but three Pirates making less money in 2020 than Bobby Bonilla will receive in deferrals from the Mets this year. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

The league is insistent that they cannot pay players their prorated salaries -- like the two sides agreed to in March -- without fans in the stands, and that players would need to be compensated differently in order to play in 2020. A few weeks ago the league approved a revenue sharing plan that called for a 50-50 split, but they did not even bother to submit it to the union because it was certain they would turn it down.

Tuesday's offer does not have revenue sharing, instead opting for a tiered structure where players who make closer to the minimum will receive almost all the money they were owed, but the highest paid players would take massive pay cuts. The union was not particularly pleased with this offer either, and while they didn't immediately reject it, it seems very unlikely that they will even vote on it.

Jeff Passan explained on Twitter late Tuesday night how salaries would be calculated:

Those tiers are based on a player's original salaries, not their prorated ones. It also doesn't mean that a player who makes, say, $30 million will receive 20-percent of his salary. Instead, it's like tax brackets:

So MLB's plan to get Mike Trout, the best player of his generation by far, to play in 2020 is to make him take a $32 million pay cut. He was already on the fence about playing in 2020, as were some of the game's other big stars. This could drive them away for a year.

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