This is a short week for most workers in the United States, but for the two sides trying to get baseball back on the field, these could be their longest days of the year.
Major League Baseball and the Players Association are trying to come to an agreement on a deal that could put players back on the field in July, but Tuesday's developments weren't positive. According to multiple reports, the proposal that MLB made Tuesday included a significant cut for the highest-paid players. The two sides already had agreed to a deal that prorates salaries, although MLB maintains that the financial situation has changed since it has become clear fans won't be allowed into games, significantly limiting revenue.
The proposal was met with immediate backlash, with just about every national reporter tweeting that the union was disappointed and discouraged. It's easy to see why. Such a deal would have a huge impact on some of the game's biggest stars, including members of the Giants organization.
Potential salary cuts in MLB plan, sources tell @JesseRogersESPN and me:— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 26, 2020
Having missed out on Bryce Harper, the Giants don't have anyone in those highest price ranges. But they do have six players on contracts that were supposed to pay them at least $10 million this year -- including Buster Posey and Johnny Cueto above $20 million -- and 14 who would have made more than $1 million.
Most of their veterans would be taking a big cut. Jeff Samardzija, for instance, was supposed to make just under $20 million in the final year of his five-year contract. Per that proposal, he would instead play this season for just about $5 million. Cueto, who signed a few days after Samardzija, was due $21 million this year; the proposal cuts that to a little more than $5 million.
MLB's proposal would benefit players making closer to the minimum of $563,500, just about making them whole on a prorated basis, and it does a sneaky job of potentially pitting different factions of the union against one another. But for a team like the Giants, just about everyone would be harshly impacted. There are players like Mike Yastrzemski, Mauricio Dubon and Logan Webb still breaking in, but the majority of the set roster has already gotten into arbitration years or signed lucrative free agent contracts.
What's the next step? Well, it doesn't sound like MLB is ready to back down at all:
MLB statement: “We made a proposal to the union that is completely consistent with the economic realities facing our sport. We look forward to a responsive proposal from the MLBPA.”— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) May 26, 2020
Everyone knew this would be a nasty negotiation, and Tuesday's developments provided a reminder of just how much ground there still is to cover before players can start booking those flights to Spring Training 2.0.
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