NEW YORK – Agent Scott Boras advises clients to deny Major League Baseball’s attempt to cut wages during negotiations with players’ association, saying team financial problems caused by coronavirus pandemic have their origins in the management of debt financing.
In an email obtained by the Associated Press, Boras wrote that players should not change the terms of the March 26 agreement between the MLB and the union that called on players to cut their wages at a prorated rate based on a shortened season. The MLB on Tuesday proposed a series of staggered reductions that would ensure that the best stars received the largest reductions.
“Remember, the games can’t be played without you,” Boras wrote. “Players should not accept further pay cuts to bail out the owners. Let the owners take some of their record earnings and profits from the past few years and pay you the pro-rated wages you agreed to accept or let them borrow based on the value of the assets they have created. of the use of the profits generated by the players. “
Boras is the best known agent in baseball and represented 71 players on the active and injured lists as of August 31, the most among player representative businesses. His Newport Beach, California-based company negotiated more than $ 1.2 billion in off-season contracts.
Salaries were to range from $ 563,500 for minimum league players to $ 36 million for Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole, Boras’ latest client. According to the March agreement, the range would drop to around $ 285,000 to $ 18 million for the MLB’s 82-game regular season. According to MLB’s economic proposal this week, the range would be reduced to around $ 262,000 to $ 8 million, including the bonus shares that all players would receive if the post-season were to be played.
“The owners are asking for more pay cuts to free them from the investment decisions they’ve made,” said Boras. “If it were just baseball, playing games would give the owners enough money to pay players their full pro-rated wages and run the baseball organization. The owners’ current problem is a result of the money they borrowed when they bought their refurbished franchises. »Their stadiums or landscaped grounds around their playing fields. This type of funding is authorized and encouraged by MLB as it has resulted in significant assessments of the franchise. “
“The owners now want players to take advantage of additional pay cuts to help pay off these loans.” They want a bailout, ”he added. “They do not offer players a share of the stadiums, baseball villages or the club itself, even though the pay cuts would help owners pay for these precious franchise assets. These billionaires want free money. No bank would. Banks require loans to be repaid with interest. Players should be entitled to the same respect. “
Commissioner Rob Manfred said 40% of MLB’s revenues are tied to the door. On May 12, the teams told the union that the MLB would lose $ 640,000 for every game played in empty football fields without supporters. The MLB has claimed that playing prorated wages in empty playing fields would result in a loss of $ 4 billion and would give major league players 89% of the revenue.
Washington pitcher Max Scherzer, among three Boras clients on the union’s eight-man executive subcommittee, issued a statement Wednesday night saying “there is no need to sign up for MLB for further cuts of remuneration ”.
Boras cited the Ricketts family’s purchase of the Chicago Cubs and the redevelopment of Wrigley Field. Debt financing is essential for both, he said.
“Throughout this process, they will be able to claim that they never made a profit because those profits have been repaid,” he wrote. “However, the end result is that the Ricketts will have upgraded assets that greatly increase the value of the Cubs – a value that is not shared with the players. “
Boras asked clients to “share this concept with your teammates and fellow players when the MLB requests new concessions or a salary deferral.”
“Make no mistake, the owners chose to take out these loans because, normally, it is a wise financial decision,” Boras wrote. “But these unnecessary choices have now put them in a difficult situation. Players must stay strong because players are not the ones who advised homeowners to borrow money to buy their franchises and the players are not the ones who have benefited from recent record earnings and profits. “
Wages have been stable for several years, he added. The average opening day has been around $ 4.4 million since 2016.
Cincinnati pitcher Trevor Bauer spoke to Boras on Twitter on Wednesday.
“Hear MANY rumors about a certain gamer agent getting involved in MLBPA business,” Bauer tweeted. “If that’s true – and at this point, these are just rumors – I have one thing to say … Scott Boras, represent your clients as you wish, but keep your damn personal agenda out of union business. “
Boras declined to comment on Bauer’s remarks.