The teams met for 90 minutes, broke, and then continued for another hour, the MLB focusing heavily on protocols as to how it thinks it could keep players and support staff safe and secure. good health if they returned to a second spring training in about a month.
The union had anticipated that the MLB would include its 50-50 revenue sharing proposal with players this season rather than the pro-rated wages that the Players’ Association expects from its members. The MLB made a presentation on its perception of the economy in the game this year, but there were no proposals on cutting wages or sharing income as planned.
The parties have not set a day to start talks, but MLB was to provide the union with more information on health and safety issues as of Wednesday, with the coronavirus pandemic still causing significant illness and death in the area. country. Both parties recognize that there can be no season without confidence that the safety and health risks are minimal, that a plan is in place to move forward if a person involved in sport has a positive result to the virus and that the MLB does not empty the tests, equipment or personnel necessary for more essential services.
The tradition when these entities come together on major issues is that the MLB presents ideas and / or proposals. The union asks questions, but is mainly in listening mode. The union then takes some time to propose other questions and / or counter offers.
In addition, history has it that the parties try to gain ground by tackling the easiest problems first. This may explain why the economic question could be put on hold for a while, since the rhetoric was already starting to heat up before the parties even met on Tuesday.
But following the standard trading book is more difficult now, in part because it is an attempt to return from an unprecedented event. Also because of a clock that makes it difficult even to spend too much time gaining ground with hanging fruit items.
There is much doubt that the MLB could carry out its most aggressive plans for Spring Training 2.0 in mid-June and a season starting in the window July 1-4. But if the goal is to try to reach an agreement to materialize this bold proposal, the parties have about 2-3 weeks to negotiate, as the teams think they will need this time to put in place all of the new protocols. and gather logistically for spring. training either at spring sites or home stadiums.
The MLB discussed programming with the union at Tuesday’s virtual meeting. MLB’s plan is for 82 games, a schedule in which teams play only within their division and the corresponding division of the other league to reduce travel and playoffs from 10 to 14 teams . The use of a DH would become universal, the workforce would amount to 30 active, with taxi teams up to 20 for depth in season without minor league games, and the sport would start at least without fans.
All of these changes will require negotiations and mutual concessions. But the big hurdles are going to involve safety and health, because players care not only about themselves and those involved in organizing a game, but about the return home of members of the family.
The other major problem to be resolved concerns finance. The union said its March 26 agreement with the MLB guaranteed players a proportional share of their 2020 wages based on the games played. MLB said the document indicates that a salary review should be undertaken if there is no participation income.
The union is reluctant to accept 50-50 revenue sharing for a variety of reasons, including its belief that any revenue sharing mechanism could be a slippery slope toward a salary cap. In addition, the union believes that players do not benefit directly from compensation in the years when MLB’s income increases, so why should it take a hit in the opposite situation, and players will be the ones who are likely to return without a vaccine .
The owners say that paying players in full for all games played would only add to what they describe as already huge monetary losses. They say the league gets 40% of its revenue from ticket sales and its subsidiary items such as concessions and parking. MLB said the revenue sharing in this case has nothing to do with a salary cap and would be unique in dealing with this emergency.
For now, both sides are describing the inflexibility on this issue. Whether it is rhetoric or entrenched positions that cannot be overcome will be revealed in the coming weeks. But after waiting without any idea of when the games can start again, the clock suddenly turns.