St. Louis Cardinals: Updating the negotiations between MLBPA, MLB
The MLBPA and the MLB owners are still discussing the 2020 MLB season. What is the latest and greatest news?
After last week was the first of the “biggest weeks in baseball,” this week is just as big for the future of both the St. Louis Cardinals in 2020 but also for the longterm health of the league. After multiple leaks and outcry from players and owners, the owners pitched their economic plan to the players early last week.
The deal, which included a sliding scale, was described as a “non-starter” on the player side (hold onto that word).
In response, the players proposed a 114-game schedule on Sunday with full prorated salaries. Per Jeff Passan of ESPN, the union expected the proposal to be declined, but the deferrals included in the deal opened up those deferrals to be used in other ways to ease the financial weight of a 2020 season on the owners.
This deal also included an expanded playoff (from 10 to 14 teams) for the next two years, suggesting that the players are in agreement with the owners on wanting that change.
As expected, that proposal from the union to the owners was a “non-starter.”
Looking back at a timeline of these offers, the first offer was made by the owners to the players on Tuesday, May 26. The players then took until Sunday, May 31 to respond. Realistically, the two sides have until Friday, June 5 to get this done to be able to begin spring training 2.0 around June 10. An increase in urgency is needed.
Thankfully, it seems that urgency has come. On Monday afternoon, the owners wasted no time countering the players’ offer.
As Passan wrote above, the response to the owners is giving the players an olive branch in paying full prorated salaries, they just want that to be over a period of 50-60 games.
The response on Twitter was overwhelmingly angry at the idea of playing a season so short.
“iN a 50 gAmE sEaSoN tHe NaTiOnAlS WoUlD’vE bEeN 19-31!” Cool.
No shortened season is going to carry the full weight and historical equality in the “canon” of MLB history. If there’s any year to get creative, 2020 is the year to do it. Look past the games proposed and you’ll see the owners just conceded that they are willing to pay full prorated salaries, the two sides just need to agree on the number of games.
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I would assure you that the odds that the season actually ends up being 50 games is kind of low. Remember, this is negotiation. Also remember, there will be an expanded playoff so the postseason will take up more games even if the season is just 50 games.
The quick response from the owners also is a good sign. Both sides know the longterm damage to the sport if they don’t have a season is not worth any short-term losses. The players will now be able to come back and counter the owners again.
Looking at the two official offers from the MLB, they were both different ways for the owners to end up paying the same amount of money. Whether it was the sliding scale or now full salaries over a shorter span. They aren’t easily making concessions, but it’s impossible to say the sides aren’t inching closer towards each other.
If you’re like me, this news is welcomed, but it’s getting old. Every day that passes where the NBA and NHL have clear plans for return and the MLB is still bickering with itself makes the sport look worse.
Some fans have stopped wishing for a 2020 season at all. Do you need any other sign that the longer negotiations go on, the more the sport is hurt?
There is one more wrinkle to all of this. If the MLB and MLBPA can’t come to an agreement, the league could implement a 50-game schedule anyway. This is a last-ditch effort that honestly seems to be a threat to the players to discuss further salary cuts or be stuck with what they’ve signed back in March.
In that deal the MLB and MLBPA signed in March, the players got a full year of service time regardless of the number of games in 2020. They also agreed to full prorated salaries, something that has been the basis of the players’ leverage thus far. However, there was one small part that was missed that lets the owners decide the length of the schedule.
"“Based on the feedback received from the Players Association, the Office of the Commissioner will construct and provide to the Players Association, as promptly as possible, a proposed 2020 championship season and postseason schedule (or multiple schedule options) using best efforts to play as many games as possible, while taking into account player safety and health, rescheduling needs, competitive considerations, stadium availability, and the economic feasibility of various alternatives.”"
Take more salary cuts or take a 50-game season. That is what the owners are telling the players with this jab. We will just have to see how this turns out, but I wouldn’t think strong-arming the players is a great idea.
With deferrals on the table, those seem like the best way to satisfy both sides here. At one point, players floated playing 100 games but being paid for 82. If the owners only want to pay players for 50-60 games in 2020, then just pay them for that this year. With the salaries for the other ~25 games, defer that down the line a year or two. There’s no reason to jump straight to the nuclear option.
The quick response was a great sign in my eyes for the odds of baseball to be back in 2020, but there is going to