After weeks of negotiating, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is now planning to unilaterally schedule a 60-game regular season. That could happen sometime soon, possibly even later Tuesday. The MLBPA rejected the league's latest proposal Monday and there simply isn't enough time to continue haggling. The March agreement reached by the two sides allows Manfred to schedule the season unilaterally as long as the players receive full prorated pay.
MLB had offered longer seasons at less than full prorated play, but the players rejected those. The MLBPA was unwilling to concede another round of pay reductions after agreeing to prorated salaries in March.
Sixty games is 37 percent of a 162-game season, so players will receive 37 percent of their full season salary in 2020. Here's what that means for the 10 highest earners in baseball this year:
|Full season salary||60-game prorated salary|
1. Mike Trout, Angels
2. Gerrit Cole, Yankees
4. Zack Greinke, Astros
5. Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
6. Nolan Arenado, Rockies
7. Justin Verlander, Astros
8. David Price, Dodgers
9. Manny Machado, Padres
10. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Greinke, Kershaw, Scherzer, and Verlander all have contracts that expire following the 2021 season. They're the four greatest pitchers of their generation and have banked a fortune to date. The same goes for Price, who is under contract through 2022. Everyone else in the table is early in a long-term contract and has a lot of money coming to them in 2021 and beyond.
On the other side of the salary spectrum, the league minimum was $563,500 this season, and the vast majority of players are making close to that figure. Prorated over 60 games, the league minimum works out to $208,700. Still excellent compensation compared to the average person. For a baseball player though? Yikes. That's quite a haircut.
MLB advanced the union $170 million as part of the March agreement. The MLBPA distributed that to its members unevenly -- the more service time you have, the more you received -- and the advance must be paid back. Players on the low end of the salary and service time spectrum will earn less than $100,000 in additional salary once the season begins.
Of course, it is entirely possible the 60-game season will not be completed. The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing threat and could force a cancellation at some point. Should that happen, players would take home even less than 37 percent of their full season salary. They get paid for however many games they play. Nothing more, nothing less.