MLB News: New Plan to start baseball offered to players, details here

William Parlee
New York Yankees
May 19, 2018; Kansas City, MO, USA; A general view of Kauffman Stadium during a game between the Kansas City Royals and the New York Yankees. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken/USA TODAY Sports

The MLB will offer a new plan to players of the New York Yankees and the other 29 MLB teams on Tuesday.  The old plan that included a revenue-sharing provision was soundly rejected by the MLBPA (players union).  They saw that as a revenue cap, something the players have rejected since the 1970s.  The new offer hopes to break the stalemate of the last two weeks and meet the artificial deadline of June 1 so that baseball can start early in July.

The Atlantic was privy to the released information from those close to the negotiations and was reported by Ken Rosenthal.  The significant change in the new plan is that the owners will not propose a full revenue-sharing system to determine player salaries for the 2020 season. The league plans to offer an alternative proposal, leaving the union with a potential choice: to hold the league to the prorated salaries, the two sides negotiated in March, or accommodate the owners’ desire for a second, possibly percentage-based cut in some other fashion.

The trade-off the union might be most willing to accept is a plan to defer 2020 salaries in favor of postseason protection that would greatly benefit free agents and salary arbitration players.  Some players will see this as pushing the salary problem down the road to be resolved later.  By accepting this proposal, it will alieve immediate cash flow problems for many team owners.

The entire new plan is to at least partially address the player’s salary concerns and the financial needs of the owners who will not receive revenue from fans in the stands and concession sales.  The players have already agreed back in March to take a 50% pay cut based on an 82 game season.  Players may want more games to increase pay.  The health concerns of players were addressed in a 67-page health initiative issued last week by MLB.

The bottom line to all of this is that the coronavirus will ultimately control how much players and owners alike earn in a shortened season.  Players might like more games to increase their salaries. In comparison, owners will want fewer games so that an increased postseason can be expanded, increasing their chances for the more revenue from TV rights and the possibility of fans in the stands late in the season.

Agent Seth Levinson of the ACES agency said:

“Players must have some assurance that after the season that MLB will not abuse the blind faith extended to them. Based on MLB’s history, it is very reasonable to expect that clubs will eviscerate free agents and arbitration-eligible players to recoup their losses. Any agreement must protect the players heading into 2021, and that will require MLB to demonstrate its good faith.”

Other items being considered are the universal DH, which would benefit National League players as a DH is potentially paid more than an end of the rotation pitcher that might hit. Another consideration is the salary “floor” or minimum pay.  The union will not accept a salary maximum.

Clark and commissioner Rob Manfred spoke to each other on Thursday, sources said. The sides continue to negotiate health and safety protocols. Both the union and the clubs sent back suggested revisions to the league office. The most remarkable differences between the players and owners, for now, remain economical. All parties will want to keep any solution to both areas of concern as simple as possible. The clock is ticking on getting a second spring training started to have any season at all.

Both most players and all owners want to get the season started because the alternative of no season will not benefit either of them an could have long-lasting financial implications that reach far into the future.  That is the impetus to keep negotiations continuing this week with the hope of coming to a resolution by week’s end that will allow baseball this season.