The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) has reportedly made its official counteroffer to the owners in order to start the 2020 season. The Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin reported on Twitter that the union is looking to put together a 114-game season that would begin as soon as June 30.
Shaikin said other aspects of the proposal included a 14-team playoff, full prorated pay over the course of the season, and $100 million in salary deferrals — with interest — if the postseason is not played. The union is apparently planning for the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 infections that would lead to another shutdown. The players are also asking for another $100 million in total salary advances as the league starts spring training back up.
With just a month from today, until the regular season would start under the union’s plan, it seems likely spring training would be abbreviated; just how many weeks it would last and when it would start were not made public. MLBPA’s proposal reportedly also allows any player who doesn’t feel comfortable playing to sit out the season. The offer includes two pay tiers for those who opt-out. Players that have preexisting conditions or otherwise in heightened danger should they catch the coronavirus would not pay a financial penalty for refusing to play.
The reported proposal would have the high-risk players receiving their full (prorated) salary as well as service time bonuses. Players that are not deemed high risk and opted out of the season would only receive a portion of their service time pay.
Shaikin added the new offer from the MLBPA would see the prorated salaries be about 70 percent of their regular pay. He pointed out the high percentage is because they are suggesting a longer season than the owners had originally proposed. Previous amounts had the players asking for 50 percent of their regular salaries for a season that would be about 82 games. The owners have asked for a much bigger pay cut.
While some players have long said they are more worried about their health and the health of their families, the financials have reportedly long been the sticking point to any agreement on a return to the field this season. With the deep cuts in pay the owners have been asking for, the MLBPA had even asked to review the owners’ financial statements to see if front offices were in as dire a state as they were claiming.
It isn’t known at the moment whether the counteroffer from the players will be accepted by ownership.