Major League Baseball players union reaffirms stance against further pay cuts

Tony Clark

Earlier this week, [MLB] communicated its intention to schedule a dramatically shortened 2020 season unless players negotiate salary concessions.

It included a roughly 82-game season, expanded playoffs and steep salary cuts for the game's highest-paid players.

Major League Baseball last week proposed an 82-game season with an additional sliding scale of pay cuts that would leave a player at the $563,500 minimum with 47% of his original salary and top stars Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole at less than 22% of the $36 million they had been set to earn.

The league also told the union it did not plan to make a counterproposal.

"In this time of unprecedented suffering at home and overseas, players want nothing more than to get back to work and provide baseball fans with the game we all love", Clark said.

The MLB Players Association released a statement Thursday evening saying that its executive board and more than 100 players talked via conference call and recommitted to wanting to play this year.

The players believe that an agreement between the sides back in March awarded them a prorated portion of their salaries based on games played.

Major League Baseball has claimed its financial losses will be too overwhelming to pay full proration on a season of much longer than 50-ish games. Players are adamant they are not taking further salary cuts.

The parties agreed to players receiving prorated salaries for any games played in 2020.

The MLBPA statement included a declaration that the players are "ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions".

Commissioner Rob Manfred, according to the March 26 agreement, reportedly has the right to determine how many games will be played in this truncated season.

"This threat came in response to an association's proposal aimed at charting a path forward". The owners counter that the provision must be renegotiated if games are played in stadiums without fans, which now appears likely to happen for all or nearly all of the 2020 season. He rattled off the various items in the union's proposal, which was framed around a 114-game season: more games, two years of expanded playoffs, salary deferrals and the exploration of additional "jewel events" (All-Star Game, etc.).

Clark said the players are united. Or the owners can eat more of a financial loss, agreeing to a longer season than they feel is comfortable.

"Important work remains to be done in order to safely resume the season", Clark said. "But we can not do this alone", MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said in a lengthy statement. "We stand ready to complete that work and look forward to getting back on the field".



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