MLB offers 76 games, up to 75% of player wages: report

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Major League Baseball has tried again to start the season delayed by coronavirus in early July, offering a regular season of 76 games, expanding the playoffs from 10 teams to 16 and allowing players to win around 75% their prorated wages. .The players refused cuts beyond what they agreed to in March soon after the pandemic started, part of acrimonious labor relations again in baseball. Tough negotiations have jeopardized plans to hold an opening day around July 4 in empty ball parks and provide entertainment for audiences still out of quarantine.

The latest MLB proposal would guarantee 50 percent of players’ pro-rated wages during the regular season, according to details obtained by the Associated Press.

The proposal would eliminate all freelance agent salaries for the first time since the start of the independent agent era in 1976. It would also void 20% of the $ 170 million in wages already advanced to players in April and May.

“If the players want to accept this offer, we have to reach an agreement by Wednesday,” Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem wrote in a letter to the union negotiator Bruce Meyer obtained from the Associated Press. “Although we understand that this is a relatively short period of time, we cannot miss additional days if we are to have enough time for players to go to spring training, perform COVID-19 tests and education, perform spring training of an appropriate duration. and plan a 76-game season that will end no later than September 27. ”

“Although we are ready to continue discussions last Wednesday on a season with less than 76 games, we simply do not have enough days to plan a season of this duration unless an agreement is reached in the next few 48 hours, “he added.

MLB concerned about second wave of viruses

The union did not react immediately, which is likely to view the plan as a step backwards due to the high percentage of unsecured wages.

“There is social unrest in our country in the midst of a global pandemic. Baseball will not solve these problems, but it might help, “said Washington pitcher Sean Doolittle. “We stayed ready and offered 114 games – to protect the integrity of the game, to give back to our fans and our cities, and because we want to play. ”

“It is frustrating to have a public labor dispute when there are so many difficulties. I hate it, “he said. “But we have an obligation to future players to do well. We want to play. We must also make sure that future players will not pay the concessions we will make. “

While there is no chance that players will accept this proposition as it is, the offer abandoned the moving-scale teams hugged last month who would only have left the stars with a fraction of their expected pay. The latest proposal plans to spark more talks that could lead to an opening day sometime in July.

The players agreed on March 26 for prorated wages that depend on the games played, as part of an agreement for a service time guarantee if the season is abandoned.

The MLB says it cannot afford to play in fanless ball parks and on May 26 proposed an 82-game schedule. The union retaliated five days later with a 114-match pay schedule that would extend the regular season by one month until October.

WATCH | Commissioner Rob Manfred is confident that an agreement will be reached:

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred told CNN on Thursday that he was confident that the Major League Baseball would reach an agreement with the Major League Baseball Players Association to resume operations this season. 1:09

MLB is concerned that a second wave of viruses will jeopardize the post-season – when MLB is expected to receive $ 787 million in broadcast revenue.

The teams estimate that the new offer would guarantee $ 1.43 billion in compensation:

  • $ 955 million in wages, including an allowance for bonuses earned;
  • $ 393 million if the post-season is played – half of broadcast revenues – for a 20% bonus for each player with a major league contract;
  • $ 50 million for the regular season post-season pool, normally funded by ticket money;
  • $ 34 million for advances delivered.

Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole, who have the highest salaries of $ 36 million each, are said to have received $ 5.58 million each under the original MLB proposal with the possibility of earning up to around $ 8 million. dollars and $ 25.3 million each in the union plan. They would be guaranteed $ 8,723,967 each as part of the last offer and would get $ 12,190,633 each if the post-season was over.

A player with a minimum of $ 563,500 could win up to $ 244,492 and those with $ 1 million – about half of those on the current active lists – could win up to $ 389,496.

Players proposed to extend playoffs to 14 teams

MLB estimates revenues will drop from $ 9.73 billion last year to $ 2.75 billion this year with a season of 76 games. By adding pro rata share signing bonuses, option buyouts, severance pay, assignment bonuses and perks, MLB says players will receive 70.2% of revenue, compared with 46.7%. By also taking into account the signing of bonuses for amateurs during the draft this week and international players, MLB players would win 86.2%, against 52.1%.

The expansion of the playoffs would be a major change for the 30 MLB clubs. The playoff teams doubled to four with the division of each league into two divisions in 1969, then to eight with the realignment to three divisions and the addition of a joker in 1995, a year later than expected due to ‘a players’ strike. The post-season reached its current level of 10 with the addition of a second wild card and a wild card round in 2012.

The players proposed extending the playoffs to 14 teams in 2020 and 21. The MLB plan would also cover the next two seasons. It does not specify a format other than eight clubs per league.

Compensation for independent agents has long provoked fierce fighting since the arbitral award of December 1975 which canceled the reservation clause – it led to an eight-day strike during spring training in 1980 and a strike by 50 days in the 1981 season. Compensation had been reduced in recent years, but some free agents had fewer bidders and signed later, such as pitchers Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel in 2019.

MLB proposed to remove the loss of the draft choices and the allocation of the international signature bonus pool for the signing of a qualified free agent.

All players would have the right to withdraw and not play, but only those at high risk would be treated as injured and would be paid wages and time.

Player distrust of MLB stems from accusations of manipulating service time to delay eligibility for free agency and wage arbitration; pays trimming to rebuild the union called tanking; slowdown in free agent markets; and five years of relatively stable wages.

MLB’s frustration with the union has increased since Tony Clark took over after Michael Weiner’s death in late 2013. Management complains that the union is dithering in response to the proposals and then provokes hectic negotiations over deadlines .

Halem sent Meyer a letter of anger on Wednesday, and Meyer responded in kind on Friday.

“I will not respond to your letter’s assertions and typos because we have gone far beyond the point where exchanging letters is a constructive use of our limited time,” Halem wrote on Monday. “To be clear, we are not closing negotiations or asking that the association negotiate against itself. “

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