Major League Baseball and its 30 owners made a proposal Friday to the players for a 72-game season with 70 percent of the prorated salaries going to the players, with a chance to go up to 80 percent of the prorated salaries if the postseason is completed.
It's an offer the players will once again reject because they agreed in March to take prorated salaries. That is, if 40 percent of a normal season is played, the players are asking to be paid for 40 percent of the season. It's entirely reasonable, but the owners are refusing to pay for more than roughly 50 games' equivalent to the players.
With the latest offer, the MLB side further fanned the flames in the contentious talks by including a letter from deputy commissioner Dan Halem. Per The Athletic, the letter is five pages and doesn't even get to the actual proposal until the third page. The report says Halem is "on the offensive" from the "opening paragraph."
Through The Athletic, the MLBPA offers up this reply:
"Mr. Halem's self-serving letter is filled with inaccuracies and incomplete facts. We will respond to that and the league's latest proposal in short order. It should not be forgotten however that even MLB admits that our March Agreement does not require players to agree to further pay cuts. Indeed, as Mr. Halem agreed in a May 18 letter to Tony Clark: 'The Association is free to take the position that players are unwilling to accept further reductions.' Pat Houlihan, MLB legal counsel, similarly acknowledged in his May 22 letter to the Players Association. 'We agree with the Association that, under the Agreement, players are not required to accept less than their full prorated salary.' "
There's a lot more about both the letter and the MLBPA in the full story on The Athletic for those interested. I can bottom line it, though: It's a bunch of bickering from two sides growing increasingly tired of each other.
A sampling of player tweets from this afternoon pretty well sum up how the players feel.
Lol— andrew mccutchen (@TheCUTCH22) June 12, 2020
Just so y’all know, 70% of prorated salaries at 72 games is the exact same as...wait for it...full prorated salary at 48. Nothing to see here. Same exact offer in different clothing. Just a reallocation of risk.— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) June 12, 2020
Trevor Bauer is absolutely right. Every single offer the owners have made to the players is basically offering to pay them for 50 games, even if they play more. You wanna play 100 games? Fine. We'll pay you 50 percent of prorated salaries. You wanna play 72? OK, we'll pay 70 percent of prorated salaries.
Until the owners' side says they'll pay prorated salaries for a number of games, there won't be an agreement. That's why it's easy to see where this is headed. We're only going to get 48 or 50 games in the regular season. We're just killing time until that decision is made official.