Report: MLB to Propose Shorter Season; Players Would Get Full Prorated Salaries

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 1, 2020

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 19:  A batting practice baseball rests in a catchers mitt during Chicago White Sox spring training workouts on February 19, 2014 at The Ballpark at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)  ***
Ron Vesely/Getty Images

As MLB and the MLB Players Association continue to negotiate the terms of starting the 2020 season, MLB is planning to propose a shortened season in which players would receive prorated salaries, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.

Passan also reported the total number of games "is being considered" but that it would likely last around 50 games for the regular season.

MLB Network's Jon Heyman provided more context:

Jon Heyman @JonHeyman

Commissioner Manfred has right via March 26 agreement to unilaterally start season of any length — even short, like 40-50 games — and pay prorated salaries. There is no intention for MLB to propose that now however. Hope remains to compromise and play season of meaningful length.

In March, MLB and the MLBPA struck a broad agreement, which players accepted, to prorate salaries based on the number of games played. The coronavirus pandemic has pushed back Opening Day and made it all but impossible to have fans in attendance for games.

However, USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported May 11 that team owners had amended the terms when forwarding their more formal proposal to the union. Players and owners would receive a 50-50 revenue split, similar to how other leagues formulate player compensation.

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark told The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich the union wasn't going to agree to the plan.

The league dropped the revenue-sharing strategy, but its new approach did little to change things.

Passan and colleague Jesse Rogers reported MLB was looking at an 82-game season. In terms of player pay, "the lowest-paid players would receive close to a full share of their prorated salary and the game's stars receive far less than expected."

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

Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer voiced his disapproval and said players have "no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions" after having agreed to prorated salaries.

Max Scherzer @Max_Scherzer


The Associated Press' Ronald Blum reported Monday the MLBPA lobbied for a 114-game season, leaving the opportunity to stage a higher volume of doubleheaders to fit more events into a condensed schedule.

The MLBPA would also sign off on expanding the playoffs from 10 to 14 teams, allowing for increased revenue from television broadcasts.

While MLB's newest step represents acceding to one of the union's demands, the extent to which the league trimmed the season could make it another idea that fails to gain traction. Players would potentially be looking at receiving only one-third of their original 2020 salaries.