The negotiation between MLB and the players' association continued Monday when word leaked of an idea the league is considering but has not yet formally proposed.
In response to the players' call for a 114-game season with full prorated salaries, the league is considering a 50-game season with full prorated salaries, according to ESPN.
The words "full prorated salaries" were used (and leaked) strategically. It sounds like it gives the players what they want, but in reality, it would be a minor financial change from even the sliding scale proposal last week.
In that tiered pay structure last week, the league was proposing that players play 51% of games (82) for about 20-30% of their pay.
This new proposal would have the players play 30% of the regular schedule for 30% of their regular pay.
So, really, it's not more money, it's just more money per game. Bryce Harper, with an average annual salary of about $25 million, would make about $150,000 per game with full prorated pay in a 50-game season. This idea from MLB in its present form would get the players no closer to their "full prorated salaries" in an 82-game season.
You'll notice that the number smack-dab in the middle between 50 games and 114 games is 82 games — the initial length proposed. A compromise could still result in that number of games being played, but the league is making clear that it doesn't want to (or won't) go beyond a finite number in its 2020 salary format, whether that finite number is achieved by playing 50 games or 82.
The players want more games because they want an avenue to maximum prorated pay. The league wants a shorter season because teams will lose money with each additional game — and these losses in totality will equal hundreds of millions of dollars.
The league also wants the regular season to end in time for an expanded October postseason. The players' proposal over the weekend called for a June 30 season opener and October 31 season finale. The league would prefer the playoffs to take place in October to maximize postseason revenues and also protect against a resurgence of COVID-19 later in the year.
As of now, the league is reportedly uninterested in salary deferrals with interest for players.
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