“[MLB’s] demand for additional [salary] concessions was resoundingly rejected,” the union said in a statement Thursday night.
The union’s statement came one day after MLB rejected the union’s most recent proposal — a 114-game regular season with players being paid prorated shares of their original 2020 salaries — and signaled it did not intend to make a counterproposal but instead was prepared to assert its right to implement a much shorter season, of between 40 and 60 games, in the absence of a deal.
“In this time of unprecedented suffering at home and abroad, players want nothing more than to get back to work and provide baseball fans with the game we all love,” union chief Tony Clark said in the statement. “But we cannot do this alone. Earlier this week, [MLB] communicated its intention to schedule a dramatically shortened 2020 season unless players negotiate salary concessions. The concessions being sought are in addition to billions in player salary reductions that have already been agreed upon.
“This threat came in response to an association proposal aimed at charting a path forward. … Rather than engage, [MLB] implied it will shorten the season unless players agree to further salary reductions.”
Baseball had hoped to have a deal this week to reopen spring training camps in mid-June with an Opening Day around July 4, but the sides have been unable to agree to economic terms.
Theoretically, both sides prefer a longer season, but owners claim they would lose a significant amount of money for every game played without fans unless players accept further salary cuts. On May 11, MLB proposed an 82-game season with further pay cuts for players, applied on a sliding scale, with the largest cuts going to those making the highest salaries.
The union questions the owners’ claim of major losses for games without fans and believes players already made a significant economic concession in March by agreeing to take prorated portions of their 2020 salaries based on the number of games played.
The latest barbed exchange between the sides appears to leave little hope for an agreement regarding a 2020 season and shifts the focus to MLB’s apparent intention to implement its terms — an extra-short regular season, with players paid prorated salaries, leading to a full or perhaps even expanded postseason.