There are a couple pieces at the New York Post that I’d advise you to read if you’re following the players-owners-negotiation-just-figure-it-out stuff.
The first is not a report, but instead one of the better columns I’ve seen on this topic:
https://t.co/GX4YCvgykJ Players do not have to accept MLB’s offer, but trying to make a case why they should not ony negotiate about their pay in 2020 but come in with their own ideas and wants for salary and more.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) May 20, 2020
The piece just does such a good job articulating the idea that players can and should aim to earn as much as they can … while also recognizing they may have the leverage to push owners to make good longer-term decisions that benefit players and the sport. Are the owners being unreasonable in seeking to lower salaries this year? Maybe so. If you think so, and you sense that they desperately want a season to happen this year, then maybe you come to the table ready to make concessions on owner expenses this year in exchange for some very specific, but very important longer-term items. The window is small, but there really is an opportunity here.
On the “report” side of things, Sherman reports of an email that suggests the players association was aware that the interim agreement would need to be renegotiated in the event that games had to proceed without fans. You can read the article for the details of that email, which, personally, I don’t see a lot of “there” there. It’s an internal email on the MLB side, recounting what they say was communicated at the time to the players. Shrug.
What interests me more is the response from the guy running the CBA show for the players – remember, it’s no longer union chief Tony Clark, it’s now lawyer Bruce Meyer – who really laid it all out. That, in turn, invited more pissing back from MLB … again, you can read the article for the whole back and forth, but it reminds me too much of my lawyering days to get into. Suffice to say, both sides are puffing up as big as possible, presenting the most extreme version of their case, all while acting as though it is obvious to anyone with half a brain that they are correct. Lord I remember that shit. I do not miss it.
Anyway, the part that I did want to point out – the part that isn’t just pissing – is this, from Meyer: “Having said that, both sides are free to make any additional proposals they want. If [the owners] have a proposal on economics they should make it as we’ve repeatedly invited them to do. We have the right to respond to it.”
In other words, the players are open to a negotiation, despite lots of saber-rattling from Clark and Scott Boras, among others, that the March deal covered everything and there’s no need to have another conversation. It was not a great posture from the players from the get-go, in my opinion, and I think opening the door is a much better approach (again, circling back to the start of this post: come to the table and maybe you can trade some short-term relief to the owners in exchange for longer-term value).
That might be a way to start thawing the financial standoff, which has the sides locked in a staring contest less than a month before they’re hoping to open Spring Training II.