MLB 2020: We're Playing, but We Can't Agree on Anything

RedOctober3829

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Not both sides. The owners signed an agreement that said the players would be paid their full pro-rata salaries for all games played. Then they decided that was a bad deal and have been trying to renegotiate that signed deal ever since with zero leverage to do so. This is 100% on the owners.
The March agreement said there was a right to go back to the negotiation table if there were not going to be fans in the stands. It is beyond fair for the owners to ask the players to take another pay cut if there is 40% less revenue coming in. That's just the nature of business. But, since the early stages of this standoff both sides have dug in so hard they aren't willing to move off their original stances. The owners could easily agree to a 64 or a 72 game schedule with fairly close to prorated salaries but they aren't willing to go higher than the Manfred-mandated number so they'd limit how much money they'd lose. It's gotten pretty ridiculous on both sides and ultimately that falls on Rob Manfred.
 

ifmanis5

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Wait, they're THIS far down the line and NOW they demand waivers?? Not in any world is this a good faith offer or a smart way to do business. This sport is screwed.
 

amfox1

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Trevor Bauer tweets in the last hour:


So, Rob, explain to us how you can be 100% sure that there’s going to be baseball but not confident there will be baseball at the same time? hmmm. What changed between those statements


Players told you to set the season, but it’s too early to set the season right now,


isn’t it Rob? Because then you’d have to explain why you’re only going to impose 50 games when we could easily play 70+ right now. The tactic is to bluff with “no season” again and delay another 2-3 weeks until you clear the risk of “not negotiating in good faith by trying to

play as many games as possible”. The public backlash combined with potential of having to explain yourself in front of an arbitrator isn’t too appealing, is it? Let’s see...the way I have it figured you want to play between 50 and 60 games. Can’t make it 50 cuz that would be too


obvious to everyone what you were trying to do. And no one would think that was a “representative season” so you’d risk not getting your precious playoff money. Nope, can’t have that. So gotta make it more than that. But not too many...you’ve gone as high as about 55 games full

Prorated salary, so you’ll probably settle somewhere around there, potentially a couple games higher than that to throw people off the scent, isn’t that right, Rob? So in that scenario, let’s see, sept 27 end date to protect playoff tv schedules, 60 ish games, going to have to


Be at least 4 off days in there...so that’s 64 days. Plus about 20 for spring training...84 days. Sept 27-84 days is July 5. Plus about a week to get players to spring training. So tack on another 7, that takes us to June 28. As I have it figured, that’s your deadline. But today


Is June 15, so how do you delay another 13 days?


guess we all got that answer today. Threaten to cancel the season. Threaten arbitration. Threaten grievances. All the while, hold the fans for ransom. Hold the future of the game for ransom. No one believes your bluff, bud.


You’re holding a losing hand. Unfortunately, it’s a losing hand for everyone involved, not just you. There’s some saying out there about not killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. Check it out on the ole google machine. It’s worth knowing.
 

Cellar-Door

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If there is no season and you are Mookie Betts how do you approach the FA market? Do you go for a 1-year deal and assess where the market is after the new CBA?
You wait until the lockout is over.

If the owners are willing to go 18 months without baseball, they aren't playing a lame duck final year to give players an injection of cash before CBA negotiations, they'll lock out the players and demand significant concessions in the new CBA, figuring many players can't afford to lose 2 seasons of salary.
 

soxhop411

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Seems clear to me that owners are incredibly spooked about a second wave in the fall and don’t want a season.
That's not what they're saying. They're saying they want to be absolved of future liability if their employees are exposed on the job to a disease with a literally unknown long-term prognosis. edit: In other words, they have the same position as all employers in the United States. They don't care about anyone's health, but they sure care about their potential liability.

Surely no one would say that the union could accept such terms.
I’m talking beyond this specific item. The owners have been negotiating in bad faith the entire time, IMO.
More from the la times
View: https://twitter.com/BillShaikin/status/1272650426018492417
 

joe dokes

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That's not what they're saying. They're saying they want to be absolved of future liability if their employees are exposed on the job to a disease with a literally unknown long-term prognosis. edit: In other words, they have the same position as all employers in the United States. They don't care about anyone's health, but they sure care about their potential liability.

Surely no one would say that the union could accept such terms.
I was only joking when i said this a few weeks ago, but now the PAs response *should* be "we'll consider waivers if the owners travel with the team, come to the locker room and sit in the dugout with us."

And i love john henry, but my last image of him was during a replay of the '07(?) series where he had his fingers in his ears as the Sox neared victory and the crowd insanity rose.
 

soxhop411

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Few things
1. The owners literally want to burn the spot to the ground in order so save themselves couch cushion money.

2. Manfred is slowly (if he is not there already) the worst commissioner in US sports. He has so much contempt for the game and doesn’t not give a shit about making it better.

3. At this point I would rather have Selig back than Manfred
 

RedOctober3829

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Few things
1. The owners literally want to burn the spot to the ground in order so save themselves couch cushion money.

2. Manfred is slowly (if he is not there already) the worst commissioner in US sports. He has so much contempt for the game and doesn’t not give a shit about making it better.

3. At this point I would rather have Selig back than Manfred
Manfred is simply expressing the views of the owners not necessarily his as that is who he works for. Now, it is his fault for not leading them in a direction to a compromise with the players.
 

Joe D Reid

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Can someone tell the owners that the chicken has had enough? They really need to put down the chicken. The chicken must be tired at this point.
 

amfox1

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Manfred suggesting at this moment that a 2020 season may not be played is like what MLB did shortly before ‘16 CBA deal was struck, in leaking out word that a lockout vote was scheduled for the owners. This is a last call on the owners’ side.
 

grimshaw

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If there is no season and you are Mookie Betts how do you approach the FA market? Do you go for a 1-year deal and assess where the market is after the new CBA?
I don't think any free agent is getting anything more than a one year deal given the very good chance of a strike unless they take a huge pay cut. I love Betts but that was the risk of going year to year.
 

grimshaw

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If there is no season, there’s no 2021 season either right?
The CBA expires after the 2021 season. I can't imagine players skipping another full season. I could see something like '94 where they play late into the season and then strike before the playoffs.

Beyond MLB players getting older and less valuable, all these teams that were trying to rebuild are setting their farm systems back. Guys that would have been ready by age 22 or so may not make the league until age 24, and then free agency in their early 30's. The overall quality of the game is going to suffer regardless.
 
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To be honest, I have felt less and less passionate about my Red Sox fandom over the past decade. Maybe a year away from the game will rekindle some nostalgia? Or maybe it will render the MLB obsolete like boxing or horse racing. Time will tell...
 

Captaincoop

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The CBA expires after the 2021 season. I can't imagine players skipping another full season. I could see something like '94 where they play late into the season and then strike before the playoffs.
These guys are playing with fire. This is not 1995, the average American probably can't pick 15 Major League Baseball players out of a lineup right now.
 

ifmanis5

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Baseball had a huge opportunity to grab eyeballs, gather new fans and generate some positive PR for once. The game is played outside and doesn't have much physical contact so it should have been the first sport back in America but of course the sport being the sport, can't do anything positive. Hand them a diamond and they'd turn it into coal. A confederacy of Dolans.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Baseball had a huge opportunity to grab eyeballs, gather new fans and generate some positive PR for once. The game is played outside and doesn't have much physical contact so it should have been the first sport back in America but of course the sport being the sport, can't do anything positive. Hand them a diamond and they'd turn it into coal. A confederacy of Dolans.
Yup— had a chance to lead and they (by which I mean both sides in some combination of blame and ineptitude) totally blew it.
 

HowBoutDemSox

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It is beyond fair for the owners to ask the players to take another pay cut if there is 40% less revenue coming in.
If revenue ever jumped up 40% in a season, the owners wouldn’t raise player salaries a dime that year. It’s not fair that the players should have to share in the pain of economic downturn but they wouldn’t share in the gains of an upturn. The owners are the equity holders in the business who presumably made a risk assessment when they made their investments, they own all the upside, they have complete control over the business side of things including having unilateral say in choosing their handpicked errand boy to run the show, they’re the ones with the ability to come up with new revenue streams, they negotiate for TV rights deals, and it’s not the players fault if the owners don’t properly insure for tail risks. The players sign contracts to get paid set amounts of money to play the game, and that’s it. By any fair measure, the owners should take this one on the chin.

But of course, as you note, this situation isn’t governed by fairness, it’s about negotiations and leverage and PR and contractual language and legal bargaining standards and who can stand losing the cash flow and a million other things. But I can’t see any reason why we should root for the owners or why we should consider their ask as “fair.”
 

mauf

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The CBA expires after the 2021 season. I can't imagine players skipping another full season. I could see something like '94 where they play late into the season and then strike before the playoffs.

I’m sure there’s a standard “no strike, no lockout” clause in the CBA.

The standard player contract gives the owners the right to suspend play (and paychecks) during a national emergency, which the current pandemic certainly is. But that doesn’t give them a clear right to shorten the season to 48 games for economic reasons, when the emergency wouldn’t preclude playing an 80-game season. Hence the players’ threatened grievance.

I’ve been expecting no season for a while. It isn’t in the owners’ interest to play a 2020 season of meaningful length without salary concessions from the players when they are facing seas of red ink in 2021, even if fans return. But that doesn’t mean players are morally obliged to endure isolation and risk injury or illness for just a small fraction of their usual compensation. I’m not angry at either side.

MLB will play next season, come what may. By then, the owners won’t look as piggish — NBA and NHL economics without fans make even less sense than baseball’s; after their upcoming playoff runs, those sports are gone until there’s a vaccine unless players make big concessions. (The escrow provisions of the NBA’s CBA will ensure that the players share the pain, but I don’t think the owners can float that much cash.)
 

Average Reds

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If revenue ever jumped up 40% in a season, the owners wouldn’t raise player salaries a dime that year. It’s not fair that the players should have to share in the pain of economic downturn but they wouldn’t share in the gains of an upturn. The owners are the equity holders in the business who presumably made a risk assessment when they made their investments, they own all the upside, they have complete control over the business side of things including having unilateral say in choosing their handpicked errand boy to run the show, they’re the ones with the ability to come up with new revenue streams, they negotiate for TV rights deals, and it’s not the players fault if the owners don’t properly insure for tail risks. The players sign contracts to get paid set amounts of money to play the game, and that’s it. By any fair measure, the owners should take this one on the chin.

But of course, as you note, this situation isn’t governed by fairness, it’s about negotiations and leverage and PR and contractual language and legal bargaining standards and who can stand losing the cash flow and a million other things. But I can’t see any reason why we should root for the owners or why we should consider their ask as “fair.”
You don’t understand: when owners make huge profits, that’s OK, because they’re taking all the risk.

However, when an unforeseen disaster strikes (A/K/A - a “risk”) the players must accept their share of the losses along with the physical risk of harm from a virus, because ... it’s only fair.
 

richgedman'sghost

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This is why I asked. If you are questioning a 1-year deal value, there is no way in hell he's doing a long-term deal. His options are really limited.
Mookie is going to really regret not taking that long term offer the Red Sox offered last year. Better to have a long term deal in hand than no deal at all. Sure the money is not 330 million, but it would have provided long term security.
 

Steve Dillard

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You don’t understand: when owners make huge profits, that’s OK, because they’re taking all the risk.

However, when an unforeseen disaster strikes (A/K/A - a “risk”) the players must accept their share of the losses along with the physical risk of harm from a virus, because ... it’s only fair.
Modified: when owners make huge profits, the players demand a portion in the next CBA negotiations based on the larger pie profits.

However, when an unforseen disaster strikes, the owners take prudent steps to furlough workers like every other industry, and cut the largest portion of the expenses..... and like part 1 of the symbiosis of de-factro partnership, any they must share in those losses.

Let me phrase it another way -- if the owners pocketed a one-off windfall, not just the growth factored into the CBA, then that would be one thing. But unless the players want to acknowledge that this is a persistent shrkinking in the next CBA, they also have to treat this as a one-off that needs a one-off solution.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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Modified: when owners make huge profits, the players demand a portion in the next CBA negotiations based on the larger pie profits.

However, when an unforseen disaster strikes, the owners take prudent steps to furlough workers like every other industry, and cut the largest portion of the expenses..... and like part 1 of the symbiosis of de-factro partnership, any they must share in those losses.

Let me phrase it another way -- if the owners pocketed a one-off windfall, not just the growth factored into the CBA, then that would be one thing. But unless the players want to acknowledge that this is a persistent shrkinking in the next CBA, they also have to treat this as a one-off that needs a one-off solution.
There's no percent of revenue feature of the CBA. What are you talking about where players demand a portion of increased revenue?
 

Average Reds

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Modified: when owners make huge profits, the players demand a portion in the next CBA negotiations based on the larger pie profits.

However, when an unforseen disaster strikes, the owners take prudent steps to furlough workers like every other industry, and cut the largest portion of the expenses..... and like part 1 of the symbiosis of de-factro partnership, any they must share in those losses.

Let me phrase it another way -- if the owners pocketed a one-off windfall, not just the growth factored into the CBA, then that would be one thing. But unless the players want to acknowledge that this is a persistent shrkinking in the next CBA, they also have to treat this as a one-off that needs a one-off solution.

The owners operate under a CBA with respect to the players. All the actions you describe (like furloughing employees) simply do not apply.

And, again, they don’t share profits, they don’t have a de facto partnership and the owners have never allowed anyone to see their books. So the players have no responsibility to share in any financial pain, especially when they are the ones taking the physical risk (low as it may be) during a pandemic.

I get it - players are millionaires playing a kids game and should be happy.
 

Awesome Fossum

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like every other industry
Major League Baseball is not like every other industry. As Posnanski points out, they enjoy antitrust exemption status, publicly financed stadiums, etc. So if they want to behave like every other industry, they can be treated like every other industry.

At such a painful time for our society, that the owners would claim that the clubs are "just a business" and not the pillar of our culture that is so important that we played through WORLD WARS is disgusting.
 

Steve Dillard

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The owners operate under a CBA with respect to the players. All the actions you describe (like furloughing employees) simply do not apply.

And, again, they don’t share profits, they don’t have a de facto partnership and the owners have never allowed anyone to see their books. So the players have no responsibility to share in any financial pain, especially when they are the ones taking the physical risk (low as it may be) during a pandemic.

I get it - players are millionaires playing a kids game and should be happy.
Your last point tries to minimize a complex issue. I generally am very pro player, your comment misses the mark.

As to the legal issues that do apply:
Paragraph 11 of the MLB’s Uniform Player’s Contract (UPC) provides:

“11. This contract is subject to federal or state legislation, regulations, executive or other official orders or other governmental action, now or hereafter in effect respecting military, naval, air or other governmental service, which may directly or indirectly affect the Player, Club or League and subject also to the right of the Commissioner to suspend the operation of this contract during any national emergency during which Major League Baseball is not played.” (emphasis added)
President Trump declared a national emergency. So the player contracts are suspended. That's the status quo.

The subsequent agreement on pro rata payment upon reopening does not address, and therefore does not modify, the Commissioner's discretion to continue suspending operations.

So that leaves discretion to Manfred, as to when to resume operations. Taking into account the economics and risk seem to fit within that discretion.

Understanding that this is all somewhat unprecedented and legally fraught with variations, parties typcially work out a solution amongst themselves. Players saying they want to be paid fully pro rata under an agreement that contemplated full revenue streams, when the revenues are dramatically reduced, seems unreasonable. That is why I see the owners having a plainer reason for not reopening if the economics will result in greater losses than not reopening.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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Your last point tries to minimize a complex issue. I generally am very pro player, your comment misses the mark.

As to the legal issues that do apply:


The subsequent agreement on pro rata payment upon reopening does not address, and therefore does not modify, the Commissioner's discretion to continue suspending operations.

So that leaves discretion to Manfred, as to when to resume operations. Taking into account the economics and risk seem to fit within that discretion.

Understanding that this is all somewhat unprecedented and legally fraught with variations, parties typcially work out a solution amongst themselves. Players saying they want to be paid under an agreement that contemplated full revenue streams, when the revenues are dramatically reduced, seems unreasonable. That is why I see the owners having a plainer reason for not reopening if the economics will result in greater losses than not reopening.
The whole point of the March agreement was to deal with that clause. The players gave up a ton of money in exchange for guaranteeing some money and full service time. As part of that agreement, the Commissioner is required to, in good faith, start the season as soon as it's safe. Until we see the text of the agreement, there's dispute about what good faith is supposed to regard. What you're talking about seems entirely off point to me.
 

Pitt the Elder

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I think the balance just shifted in the war of public opinion in favor of the players. To the average fan, the players are on record saying "we're ready to play, you say where and when" and the owners are now unilaterally threatening to cancel the season unless the players waive their legal rights. There's a clear winner in that exchange and it's not MLB.
 

Steve Dillard

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From reports, the March agreement contains the following parameters for the return.

There are also three mutually agreed upon conditions in which a season can be shut down:

  1. There are government restrictions on spectators attending games.
  2. There are travel restrictions in the United States and Canada.
  3. There are unreasonable risks to players, staff, and spectators.

The conditions are not yet open, so it can fairly be said that reopening at this point is more a nod to pushing forward to "normalcy" of having baseball played, than that each of these conditions is satisfied.

WIth the players apparently refusing to compromise anything less than 100% pro rata, then the owners who would bear the loss, are under no compunction to push the envelope on the above conditions.
 

Manuel Aristides

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For the first time ever, our family had a serious conversation about giving up the season tickets. Just hard to write a check like that for a business that so obviously cares so little about its customers, to say nothing of its employees.
 

BaseballJones

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From reports, the March agreement contains the following parameters for the return.


The conditions are not yet open, so it can fairly be said that reopening at this point is more a nod to pushing forward to "normalcy" of having baseball played, than that each of these conditions is satisfied.

WIth the players apparently refusing to compromise anything less than 100% pro rata, then the owners who would bear the loss, are under no compunction to push the envelope on the above conditions.
Any idea how much money the owners would lose if there was no season, as compared to if they agreed to the players' demands?
 

nattysez

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WIth the players apparently refusing to compromise anything less than 100% pro rata, then the owners who would bear the loss, are under no compunction to push the envelope on the above conditions.
Except of course for the part where they receive an antitrust exemption and taxpayer-supported stadia because the game of baseball is seen as a service to the community. The owners have a moral obligation to operate whenever possible given how much they are supported by the community. If the owners want to treat baseball like any other business, then the public needs to treat baseball as any other business -- get rid of the antitrust exemption, pass legislation banning the use of taxpayer funds to build stadia, etc.