Mixed Signals Linger Around Latest Salary Negotiations

While there still isn’t any real hard news about progress being made between the owners and players surrounding prospective 2020 salary payouts, there was a small flurry of speculation that was shared by several different sources of the media early Sunday.

Buster Olney of ESPN in his weekend column hinted that just when everyone felt that some kind of agreement would eventually be reached, ownership may decide to take the road of standing firm with their latest offer.

According to Olney, “Sources say there is a group of owners perfectly willing to shut down the season, to slash payroll costs and reduce losses, and the disparate views among the 30 teams have been reflected in the decisions to fire and furlough.”

Olney also mentioned the possibility of a potential strike (noting the shortness of time remaining in the current collective bargaining agreement), stating that the owners, already damaged by the money losses this year, “could be more inclined to dig in and wait out the players, aiming for a lasting reconstruction of baseball’s financial model. The labor fight could go on and on, and by the time it all plays out, it’s impossible to know how many fans, feeling alienated or disgusted, will leave baseball behind once and for all.”

Indeed, for as much as the players and the owners are significantly affected by the entire scenario, some fans are also hurt, not just for missing out on several months of the country’s most popular pastime, but also by facing unaffordable costs to attend the games once the gates open up to fans.

Some examples show that for a family of four to attend a single game, average costs around the MLB figure to be somewhere just shy of $200.00, when taking into consideration parking, food and other minimal concessions. Moreover, wherever the 2020 season might end up, it isn’t immediately known if those prices will escalate in efforts to recuperate any lost funds.

Whatever happens, considering the current state of the economy, many families might find themselves in positions to spend less on baseball during a prospective shortened season this year than they have during past seasons when they were more financially stable.

Regardless, as Andy pointed out in her column on Friday, the general consensus was that both sides would need to reach a financial agreement by June 1 to keep a July 4 start to the season in the crosshairs.

And that doesn’t even take into consideration a mutual agreement regarding health and safety standards in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Still, there have been some other whispers floating about, specifically by Joel Sherman of the New York Post, who indicated that “the sides have until next weekend [June 7], maybe a day or two more, to reach an agreement that would allow teams to gather by the weekend of June 12-14 and have three weeks of spring training 2.0 and start the season July 3.”

Sherman also stated that the people in his own circle—from both sides—still believe that a deal will be reached soon. However, there are “real bad feelings, historic patterns of hate and other hurdles making it less than a sure thing.”

Stay tuned for details as they develop.

 

MLB Owners Present New Salary Plan to Players Union

Tuesday marked the day of another step forward in the realization of an abbreviated 2020 Major League Baseball season.

Seemingly, financial compensation is the only thing holding up the actualization of when players will eventually take the field.

Last week, several governors of the country’s largest states showed willingness to host professional sports within their municipalities, as most states are finally backing off on stay at home requirements. A 67-page health and safety plan drafted by the MLB has still yet to be approved by the players union, although many pundits feel it is not much more than a formality.

On Tuesday, the owners approved a proposal that will be sent to the union for consideration, according to reports. Although the original intent of the owners was to put a 50/50 revenue sharing plan in place—which was indirectly rejected by the union several weeks ago—the owners now are believed to have asked the players to sign off on a “sliding scale of compensation” that would trim the salaries of the players.

Apparently, the players who make the most money will be the most affected.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports was among the first to share the news of the proposal. Jon Heyman of MLB Network indicated not long after that representatives from the owners and the union were set to meet later on Tuesday to discuss the new plan.

Nightengale evidently based his report on information from three people with knowledge of the proposal who preferred to remain anonymous.

Per Nightengale’s report, “the proposal includes a sliding scale of compensation, guaranteeing players a percentage of their salary during different intervals of the season, while also including a larger share of postseason money. The players earning the highest salaries would be taking the biggest cuts, while those earning the least amount of money would receive most of their guaranteed salaries, with the union determining the exact percentage splits.”

If both sides agree on this new proposal, the deal would result in the players taking an additional pay cut based on no fans in attendance for an 82-game season, after already agreeing to be paid on a pro-rated basis that reduces their pay by almost 50%.

It is widely believed that an agreement will eventually happen, but it is speculated that there will indeed be some type of pushback from the union, creating the need for further negotiations.

Nightengale stated that while there’s no “hard deadline” for the negotiations to be resolved, the two sides would likely need to reach an agreement within the next week or so if the season can begin during the first week of July.

 

A Look Back at the 2002 Dodgers

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(Getty Images photo)

If you’re a fan who follows the history of the Dodgers closely (or if you’re a fan who personally witnessed the misery of not making the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season), you’ll remember that 2002 was pretty much the year of just two players—outfielder Shawn Green and reliever Eric Gagne.

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Dodgers Named Finalist for ESPN’S Sports Humanitarian Team of Year

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The Dodgers on Wednesday were named a finalist for the Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year, as announced by ESPN. The honor comes in recognition of the club’s official charity, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF).

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State Governors Signal Approvals for Live Sporting Events

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(Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

Just like we said in Sunday’s column, “outlooks on the COVID-19 pandemic sometimes change daily, causing bursts of optimism one day and spurts of pessimism the next.”

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Too Many Uncertainties Still Linger Around a Potential 2020 MLB Season

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For what has felt like months now, we have seemingly been hearing an entirely new proposal almost every week about how the 2020 Major League Baseball season may ultimately be structured.

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Safety Issues Aside, Players and Owners Still Have Differences About 2020 Season

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For a quick moment on Monday, there appeared to be some progress towards making the 2020 Major League Baseball season a reality.

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Professional Baseball Recommencing in Other Parts of World

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While there’s still no concrete direction for baseball in the United States, the idea that the game is gaining steam in other parts of the world deems promising for many fans on American soil.

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Rob Manfred Still Hopeful for Baseball in 2020

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While the chances of an actual baseball season seem to be grim with each passing day, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred still remains optimistic that some type of campaign will be orchestrated this year.

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Despite Uncertainty of Season, MLB & MLBPA Resolve Critical Roadblocks

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While there’s still a lot of uncertainty surrounding many details of a prospective baseball season this year, both the MLB and MLBPA were hard at work this week trying to iron out any potential hurdles, specifically when it came to salaries, service time, and the 2020 amateur draft.

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