MLB player salary an ‘increasing concern’ for league, union ahead of potential 2020 season, report says


Major League Baseball, like so many other sports, is currently suspended because of the ongoing coronavirus global pandemic. MLB and the players association (MLBPA) are determined to have a 2020 season of some kind.

The two sides have discussed a variety of scenarios for the 2020 regular and postseason, but there are plenty of logistical hurdles MLB would need to overcome before committing to a plan, including negotiations over the financial structure for a potential 2020 season return. With reports that the league might try to lower salaries if games are played without fans, tension is growing between the league and players.

ESPN analyst Buster Olney appeared on SportsCenter on Sunday to discuss the ongoing discussions between MLB and the MLBPA. Here’s part of what Olney said:

“Right now, there’s a major disagreement between Major League Baseball and the Players Association over what the financial split of the pie would be, if in fact baseball comes back. This is an increasing concern both to management officials and to agents I’ve spoke with. Agent Scott Boras has argued that the 2020 contracts should be honored, that would be on a pro-rated basis if baseball comes back.

…On the management side, they feel like given the financial hit that baseball has taken, there needs to be some salary rollbacks. There is some increasing optimism that baseball will be played this year in some form, perhaps in front of fans, however, that can’t happen unless these two sides come out of their trenches where they are right now.”

Tony Clark, MLBPA chief, shot down the idea of players taking additional pay cuts last week. “Players recently reached an agreement with Major League Baseball that outlines economic terms for resumption of play, which included significant salary adjustments and a number of other compromises, Clark said. “That negotiation is over.”

MLB and the MLBPA did resolve several shutdown-related issues last month. Per those agreements, players are supposed to receive the prorated portion of their salary in 2020. So, if 81 games are played, players will receive half their salary. 

Obviously, both players and team owners have strong financial incentives to play a season of some kind, but now it’s a matter of determining what that will look like for both sides, especially if the league decides to start the season without fans in attendance.





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