Cardinals: MLBPA to reject most recent attempt to shorten season

ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 26: The Gateway Arch as seen through the scoreboard at Busch Stadium during a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers on September 26, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 26: The Gateway Arch as seen through the scoreboard at Busch Stadium during a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers on September 26, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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While some St. Louis Cardinals fans would prefer a DH, the MLB has tried to include that in a deal that also shortens the season.

While the majority of the news sent out over the past month has suggested the MLB is gearing up for 162 games, they continue to try and entice the players with different deals.

First, the MLB offered the players the DH for an expanded playoff. This seems simple enough, but it was denied by the players for good reason (more on that later).

Now, it appears the MLB proposed another package to the players on Friday.

As Tim Brown writes, this offer has all the bells and whistles. Pushing back the season lets more fans in sooner into the season and lets the players have better odds to get vaccines. This deal also gives the players the pay of a full 162 games in 154 and offers them the DH. That doesn’t seem so bad.

However, the players would be giving up their biggest chip they have in their pocket.

Right now, the deal between the MLB and the MLBPA shares postseason revenue in a specific way. Players get 60% of gate revenue for the minimum amount of games it takes to win a series. This means three games in a best of five and four in a best of seven series. They don’t get a dime of the TV money.

The expanded playoffs presented here are for 14 teams, not the 16 that made it in 2020, but the concerns are the same. Players are worried that adding playoff rounds will cheapen the regular season and disincentivize owners from spending as much money.

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This already results in a gap in money earned by the two sides, and the gap would only get wider with this deal. Most importantly, the 15 jobs added with the DH don’t make up for that disparity.

The other dangerous nugget hidden in the deal is that the deal would give Rob Manfred “expanded authority to suspend the season.” This quote is pulled from Bob Nightengale’s piece on it linked below and it makes sense why the players would be wary of this. Manfred has proven to be more on the owner’s side in recent years and expanding his power is a dangerous game.

According to Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of the Athletic, the biggest thing that the deal skimps on from the player side is guaranteed money. If the season has to be paused or stopped at any point, there isn’t anything in writing in the deal that guarantees pay for players.

As a result, the MLBPA will be (or already has, depending on when you’re reading this) rejecting this proposal.

The players don’t have to accept any deal for the 2021 season to start on time. Right now, the owners are attempting to offer the players the DH and other things they want as another option. However, they are making it very clear that anything the players want is going to come at a steep price. It seems like too little, too late. There are just two weeks left until players begin to travel to spring training and many players have already made travel and lodging plans.

Looking back to the 2020 negotiations, the owners were vehemently against paying the players full salary for the games they did play, let alone for games they didn’t. The fact that they are offering to pay the players for games they didn’t play shows how valuable the expanded playoffs are to the owners.

Next. A look at some potential internal DH options. dark

The owners are running out of time to get anything done with the players. This deal doesn’t seem very fair and if it results in no DH for 2021, so be it. Spring training ticket sales have paused as a result of these negotiations potentially pushing things back. As of right now, there won’t be a DH or expanded playoffs.