Max Scherzer: MLBPA Has 'No Reason' to Keep Talking Compensation with MLB

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 28, 2020

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) works against the Houston Astros during spring training baseball game Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer expressed his frustration with Major League Baseball's latest economic proposal as the league and its players attempt to reach an agreement to hold a shortened 2020 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there's no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions. We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there's no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received."

Max Scherzer @Max_Scherzer


He also said other players have expressed a similar sentiment.

Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports noted Scherzer is part of the Players Association executive council and is "very much involved in these talks."

Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported players were "pretty galvanized" in a call Wednesday and saw the league's proposal as "disappointing" and "disrespectful." According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, the players intend on countering the proposal by the end of the week and "do not plan to make any salary concessions."

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported the players would insist on their full, prorated salaries over the course of a season longer than 82 games.

As Scherzer noted, the players already agreed to a salary cut in a shortened season by agreeing to prorated salaries in March. However, the league then suggested the two sides split any revenue generated this year evenly in a 50-50 split, which Passan noted was a "non-starter" for the players.

Since the players would not accept that, the league countered with a new offer that would pay players a percentage of their prorated salaries on a sliding scale, per Heyman.

That sliding scale meant the highest-paid players would see significantly larger cuts in their salaries, as Passan illustrated:

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

@JesseRogersESPN Seen another way: 82-game prorated salaries vs. MLB's proposal Full Proposal prorated $285K $262K $506K $434K $1.01M $736K $2.53M $1.64M $5.06M $2.95M $7.59M $4.05M $10.1M $5.15M $12.7M $6.05M $15.2M $6.95M $17.7M $7.84M

MLB may have been attempting to divide the union with a proposal calling for higher-paid players to accept such steep cuts while the lowest-paid ones were still on track to make most of what they would have with prorated salaries.

That makes Scherzer's suggestion of unity notable, especially coming from a star pitcher who was set to make nearly $28.8 million in base salary alone in 2020.

While MLB will surely make less money than it normally would have with so many adjustments necessary amid a worldwide pandemic, the back-and-forth comes at a time when the vast majority of the teams are in solid financial position.

In April, Forbes reported the average value of each team was nearly four times what it was a decade ago, with every one but the Miami Marlins worth more than $1 billion.