After months of negotiating and a back and forth between owners and players, the MLB has announced they will implement a schedule for the players in order to begin the 2020 MLB season.
The MLB statement said that the owners have agreed to continue forward with the terms of the original agreement from March 26th on a 60 game scale. The league will move forward as long as the players agree to two conditions by Tuesday June 23rd at 5 PM: All players can report to spring training in their team’s hometown by July 1st and the league agreeing to health and safety protocols to ensure there wouldn’t be a stoppage to the season for a Coronavirus related incident. The deal agreed to in March includes full prorated salaries for all players, as well as other slight modifications to contracts and compensation that are going to be announced once the deal is official. The MLBPA and MLB are expected to both file grievances against each other for not negotiating in good faith.
Despite the fact that negotiations are over, the worst has yet to begin for the sport.
The current CBA between the MLB and the MLBPA ends after the 2021 season, and after the rough negotiations that have transpired and the obvious bad blood, one can only imagine a strike is coming.
A strike hasn’t happened since the strike of 1994-95 that resulted in the cancellation of the 1994 World Series, which was the first time the World Series was cancelled in nine decades. However, after the loss in revenue is only going to further the issues after the 2020 season.
Players such as Mookie Betts, JT Realmuto, Trevor Bauer and George Springer all become free agents after the 2020 season and it’s expected they’ll be paid less than they would’ve earned had their been a full 2020 season. Mookie Betts is clearly more than worth a contract that surpasses Bryce Harper’s, but would a team pay that money for one player after a year where they claim they’ll lose 640,000 dollars a game? That is doubtful.
Even moving beyond just the free agents, the relationship between the MLB and MLBPA may be broken beyond repair, as the players believe the MLB negotiated in bad faith. It’s easy to believe that, as the MLB has earned record profits over the last few years, including over 50 million dollars per team for the sale of 33% of MLB Advanced Media in 2016 and a billion dollar TV deal that was coincidentally and interestingly announced just hours after it was revealed the owners turned down the MLBPA’s proposal because they claimed they couldn’t afford to pay full prorated salaries.
While the fans will never know who is truly to blame, as the MLB owners refused to release their books to prove their claim to poverty, it’s pretty easy to see that the owners are at fault based on the information that is available.
The players are the ones risking their health to make a return, so why do they have to be the ones to take the losses? An owner’s job is to promote the sport and do everything in their power to help the sport progress, but billionaire owners claiming poverty over roughly 250 million dollars is salaries has left a poor taste in many fans mouths.
For all those saying the players are being spoiled millionaires, do you know the difference between a millionaire and a billionaire is?
Nearly a billion dollars.
While the immediate future for the MLB is looking bright as it’s set to make its return, the negative impact this situation has caused will have a lasting effect on the MLB that fans cannot even begin to fathom.