Reds' Trevor Bauer Rips MLB's 'Laughable' Return to Play Proposal

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2020

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game Monday, March 2, 2020, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Trevor Bauer isn't interested in returning to play during the COVID-19 pandemic under Major League Baseball's current proposal. 

On Wednesday, he called the MLB plan "laughable": 

Trevor Bauer @BauerOutage

My reaction to the @Mlb return to play proposal. It’s laughable. @AgentRachelLuba makes some very good points here regarding the proposed revenue split and the problems with it. https://t.co/2CBH1FlRyK

Bauer has been critical of MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred in the past, saying in February that many of the commissioner's decisions have contributed to baseball "losing popularity, especially amongst young people." 

"As the commissioner, figure it out man ... how are we supposed to get them interested in the game when they can't even see the damn game?" he added at the time. "And on top of that, they can't even go to Twitter, where all the young people hang out."

As for the current issue at hand, MLB's owners and the players association are at odds over the revenue-sharing plan that is reportedly on the table. 

As Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic reported Monday, "An economic system in which player compensation would come from 50 percent of league revenue in 2020 instead of the current salary structure is a non-starter" for the MLBPA. 

The players, who have already agreed to take a pay cut, view such a system—which would base salaries "only for this season upon the percentage of revenues generated by the sport"—as a salary cap.

League officials disagree, saying such a system "includes no minimum or maximum payroll" and thus views it as a "partnership in which players would simply prorate their salaries to match industry revenues at a time when the league does not know if and when it will open its parks to paying customers."

League officials reportedly feel they will lose too much money playing without fans under the current system of prorating salaries "on a per-game basis." The players disagree, citing the additional revenue that postseason baseball will add to the revenue pie. 

The topic remains a hotly debated one around baseball:

Get Up @GetUpESPN

"If [a potential 2020 MLB season] blows up over money, they will lose fans that they will never get back. And they will deserve it." @Espngreeny and @teixeiramark25 are urging MLB players to accept the return-to-play proposal. https://t.co/npOuO4kOFT

Alex Wood @Awood45

I refuse to judge someone I don’t really know off of one comment but damn this statement is just so stupid lol https://t.co/RoLeSVKEiF

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark told Rosenthal and Drellich in no uncertain terms that the union has no interest in the plan reportedly being pushed by MLB:

"A system that restricts player pay based on revenues is a salary cap, period. This is not the first salary cap proposal our union has received. It probably won't be the last. That the league is trying to take advantage of a global health crisis to get what they've failed to achieve in the past—and to anonymously negotiate through the media for the last several days—suggests they know exactly how this will be received."

The two sides have met electronically, per the Associated Press, though economic topics were not raised during the meeting. Outside of the actual logistics of playing games during the coronavirus pandemic, the financial divide between the players and owners remains the biggest sticking point to overcome.