SportsPulse: Mackenzie Salmon spoke with former NBPA chief executive Charles Grantham about the potential obstacles that could face MLB and its players as they try to return to action.


PHOENIX – Major League Baseball dropped a revenue-sharing plan and instead introduced a sliding scale of compensation to the Major League Baseball Players Association on Tuesday afternoon, the first time the two sides formally discussed financial issues in an attempt to open the pandemic-shortened season by July 4 weekend.

The plan, three people with knowledge of the proposal told USA TODAY Sports, proposes to pay players a relative percentage of their salaries, with the players doing the most to take the biggest pay cut. The three people spoke only on condition of anonymity as negotiations are ongoing.

Younger players who make the least money would receive most of their guaranteed extended wages. The proposal also includes a sliding scale of compensation that guarantees players a percentage of their wages at different seasonal intervals, throughout the season.

The owners are worried that the season, when they generate the most revenue on TV rights fees, could be wiped out if the country is hit by a second wave of coronavirus in October or November.

The players agreed on March 26 to be paid in proportion, but the owners are looking for a new deal with revenue that is expected to fall significantly short as a result of season 82 and after the season will likely be played without fans in the stands. Players would receive salary reductions of more than 50%, and perhaps as much as 75% for the game’s highest paid players.

The union considers wage cuts as huge and the initial reaction was not positive.

“Interesting strategy to make the best marketing player potentially look like the bad guys,” tweeted Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Brett Anderson.

MLB followed the Union’s request to drop its proposed revenue sharing plan 50-50. The union was worried that revenue sharing would lead to the introduction of wage capacity in future negotiations, while being cautious about further wage cuts, including the possibility of a percentage of their wages being placed in the lock.

There is concern among several agents that the new proposal could create a division between rank and file, but there will certainly be changes, compromises and lots of discussion with all players during these negotiations.

The owners insist that it is necessary for the players to take a further pay cut as they will lose money during the regular season with no fans present. Still, the owners would also be guaranteed $ 777 million in TV revenue by season, which would be raised to about $ 1 billion with the postseason format expanded to 14 teams instead of 10. The owners have discussed sharing some of the money with the players.

There is no difficult deadline for the negotiations to be completed, but both sides would probably need to reach an agreement on June 6 for the season beginning July 4. Players and coaching staff need time to report on the resumption of spring training, which would last for three weeks on a team’s home course or their spring training site in Florida or Arizona.

Follow Nightengale on Twitter: @Bnightengale

Auto Play

View thumbnails

View captions

Download SlideNext Slide