Players balk at MLB's proposal to cut salaries
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Players balk at MLB’s proposal to cut salaries

By Tommy Fradenburg

Contributing Writer for Telegraph Local | See @tommyfradenburg

Major League Baseball released its first official proposal for a season in 2020 on Tuesday; but it wasn’t a plan well received by the players. The biggest point of contention between the two sides is of course money; a complicated issue for teams to deal with this season since fans likely won’t attend games this season.

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The first iteration of a potential season proposes those on the lower end of the salary totem pole will still receive close to the agreed upon pro-rated salary for however many games are played this year; but the leagues higher earners would see much greater cuts under the plan.

Under the suggested terms, players on max deals like Gerrit Cole and Nolan Arenado would earn $7.84 million for the 2020 season. While still a lot of money, its just a fraction of the $35 million they’d earn in a normal year of their contract; and $10 million less than the amount of the first pay cut that the players agreed to March.

“The proposal involves massive additional pay cuts and the union is extremely disappointed,” the MLB Players Association said in a statement. “We’re also far apart on health and safety protocols.”

The plan does include $200 million in playoff bonuses, most of which would go to the higher salaried players should they make it that far. But even with the playoff bonuses, players will still make far less than they feel is fair.

“This season is not looking promising. Keeping the mind and body ready regardless,” New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman wrote on Twitter. “Time to dive into some life-after-baseball projects. Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. Brighter times remain ahead!”

The MLBPA is expected to reject the league’s proposal and counter with a plan of their own.

When the Money Stops

This week is a big one in the COVID-19 stunted MLB season.

When the players agreed to a pro-rated salary based on the amount of games played in March, they also agreed to receive $170 million (or about four percent) of their salaries. The final payments were scheduled to go out on Sunday, leaving only question marks about how the rest of the season will go.

For minor league players the issue of pay is much more immediate.

The Oakland Athletics announced on Tuesday they would no longer pay their minor leaguer’s the $400 a month stipends; becoming the first (but likely not the last) organization to take that measure.

The move encapsulates the core issue at the heart of any potential payment plans for players this coming season. Paying all 200 minor leaguers their stipend through September would cost the A’s $1.3 million; an amount that should be a drop in the bucket for multi-billionaire owner John Fisher.

So far billionaire team owners have attempted to place a heavy financial burden on its millionaire players, something many have called out as unfair.

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“I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, OK? And that’s just the way it is for me,” said Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell. “Like, I’m sorry you guys think differently, but the risk is way the hell higher and the amount of money I’m making is way lower. Why would I think about doing that?

There still isn’t anything like a clear picture of what this baseball season will look like or even a guarantee one will happen; but there’s still lots of distance between the respective parties.

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