MLB Owners Reportedly 'Adamant' About Not Paying Players Prorated Salaries

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 11, 2020

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred answers questions at a press conference during MLB baseball owners meetings, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

There is reportedly a gap between the MLB players and owners in contract discussions over a potential 80-game season.  

Jon Heyman of the MLB Network reported on that disconnect:

Jon Heyman @JonHeyman

Owners will seek less than prorated pay for players, and in fact are adamant they will not pay prorated $, saying losses would be too steep. One possible proposal: a 50/50 revenue split. Players side’s been adamant about prorated $ (half pay for 81 games). Something has to give.

That follows a report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic on Saturday that Major League Baseball would be proposing an 80-game season starting in early July to both the owners and players' union early this week.

Other reported proposals of MLB's season:

  • Teams will only play other teams in their division or geographical region.
  • The goal would be for all stadiums around the league to be in play, though if that isn't possible, teams would be relocated.
  • An expanded postseason from five teams in each league to seven teams per league qualifying.
  • No fans in the stands, at least when the season begins in July. 
  • An expanded roster to 45-50 players.

But financial considerations will play a major part in whether either the owners or players sign off on the proposal.

Rosenthal further broke down the perspective from both sides:

"The players agreed in March to prorate their salaries in a shortened season. Those salaries cover the regular season only, while postseason shares are based upon gate receipts. If the players agreed to a set percentage of revenue, they also would share any additional national TV money generated during the postseason.

"Without the players making such a concession, league officials say they will spend more on player salaries than they would earn in revenue for every incremental regular-season game played without fans. The union believes the opposite to be true and that postseason TV and other revenue will further enhance the league’s financial position."

There's no doubt both sides will need to make concessions given the financial losses incurred from an abridged season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, potentially without revenue generated from having fans buy tickets and purchase concessions and merchandise at the stadium. 

But it sounds as though there are still some significant hurdles to clear before the owners and players are ready to sign off on anything. It will be a fascinating subplot to monitor as the league attempts to return to play over the summer.