Hoping to finalize a plan for a potential 2020 regular season by early June, Major League Baseball submitted an economics proposal to the Players Association earlier this week.
Team owners are reportedly asking players to accept further pay cuts based on a sliding scale, with top earners taking more of a financial hit than those making the minimum.
Not surprisingly, the proposal was met with widespread criticism and frustration from the MLBPA. The union is now preparing to counter with the original financial terms agreed to in March, which called for players receiving prorated salaries based on the number of games that take place this season.
And while some players may be open to accepting additional pay reductions, prominent MLB agent Scott Boras is urging players to not give in to the team owners’ request, via Ronald Blum of the Associated Press:
“Remember, games cannot be played without you,” Boras wrote. “Players should not agree to further pay cuts to bail out the owners. Let owners take some of their record revenues and profits from the past several years and pay you the prorated salaries you agreed to accept or let them borrow against the asset values they created from the use of those profits players generated.”
“Owners are asking for more salary cuts to bail them out of the investment decisions they have made,” Boras said. “If this was just about baseball, playing games would give the owners enough money to pay the players their full prorated salaries and run the baseball organization. The owners’ current problem is a result of the money they borrowed when they purchased their franchises, renovated their stadiums or developed land around their ballparks. This type of financing is allowed and encouraged by MLB because it has resulted in significant franchise valuations.”
Boras asked clients to “please share this concept with your teammates and fellow players when MLB request further concessions or deferral of salaries.”
Boras, who represents some of the game’s highest-paid players in Gerrit Cole, Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer, believes the Players Association is under no obligation to accept additional pay cuts.
Though the two sides previously agreed to an economic plan at the start of MLB’s shutdown, team owners claim it was only contingent on fans being allowed to attend games this season.
MLB projects that it will lose up to $4 billion this year by paying players prorated salaries without gate revenue.
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