Max Scherzer joined Twitter in February of 2012. He sent 433 tweets since then -- 54 a year on average -- and just four original tweets since Oct. 29, 2018. Until he dropped a shot Wednesday night.
Scherzer dispatched a screenshot at 11:09 p.m. which contained a clear message: the players’ union is angry.
“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 the prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received. I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.”
This has weight. Scherzer is on the union’s eight-player executive subcommittee and it’s not hard to envision him as the executive director of the MLBPA one day. He never uses social media. He does not haphazardly dispatch comments. Anyone who deals with him on a regular basis has heard the phrase, “How do I want to put this?” before a pause. So, this is a distinct and emphatic message.
At its core, the tweet is a jab against Major League Baseball owners. They do not reveal their books to anyone but each other. The players’ union has often griped about being at an information deficit when dealing with the league. That’s because they are. And Scherzer took a big swing at that concept Wednesday night.
Spurring his acrimony was the owners’ recent proposal of a second pay cut for players. The league and union negotiated a deal back in late March which prorated player salaries. The owners circled back with a new proposal which would take a giant whack out of high-end salaries if there is a season in 2020 on top of prorating them.
The new proposal from the league would vault players into tiered pay cuts.
Here’s the scale, as reported by ESPN:
$563,501 to $1 million paid at 72.5%
$1,000,001 to $5 million paid at 50%
$5,000,001 to $10 million paid at 40%
$10,000,001 to $20 million paid at 30%
$20,000,001 and up paid at 20%
These cuts follow the already prorated salaries players would work under during an 82-game season.
Which produces rough numbers like this:
Scherzer would make around $4.333 million in base salary. He was set to make $28,777,759 in base salary this season.
Stephen Strasburg would make $5.313 million. His new contract called for a $35 million base salary, one of the richest in the game.
Those massive cuts immediately became non-starters for the players’ union.
As in any negotiation, the gap is greatest at the beginning. However, this is not the offseason with months to figure things out. This is late May with the calendar compressing the realistic chances for Major League Baseball to salvage some form of season this year.
And, if Scherzer’s rare tweet is to be taken at face value, the distance to cover in a short period is vast.
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