Major League Baseball and the Players Association remain entrenched in resolving differences over an economic plan as well as health and safety protocols for a potential 2020 regular season, with a June deadline of sorts not far off.
Team owners presented an economic proposal to the union on Tuesday, which called for players to take pay cuts based on a sliding scale of their earnings. It was not well received, setting the stage for a stare down between the two sides.
While the union has maintained it won’t agree to further pay reductions — specifically a 50-50 revenue split — the players have privately discussed deferring portions of their salary this season to appease owners, via Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic:
To this point, the union has been adamant it will not accept further pay reductions. The players, however, have internally discussed the possibility of deferrals to address the owners’ cash-flow problem, a source with knowledge of the discussions said.
Although the parties agreed in March to defer draft-pick bonuses, the league would not necessarily be open to deferring major-league salaries, believing it only would extend the financial pressure on clubs into the future, rather than address the problem.
Though some players may be open to deferrals this year, it doesn’t sound as if team owners share the same sentiment.
While the tactic has become common when negotiating lucrative free-agent contracts, the league believes deferring the majority of players’ salaries this season will only lead to further financial problems down the road.
Both sides previously agreed that 2020 MLB Draft selections will have their bonuses deferred this year, but it’s clear team owners hope to avoid doing so for players’ salaries.
Assuming salary deferrals won’t be an option, players might have to agree to another form of pay cut. And though that isn’t the desirable choice, players could ask for financial protection this offseason in return, specifically as it pertains to free agent and arbitration.
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