Sparring Between Owners and Players is Just the Ugly Norm, Pandemic or No

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Sparring Between Owners and Players is Just the Ugly Norm, Pandemic or No

Chicago Cubs

The topic is critically important right now, so I’ll cover it here. But I’ll tell you – and you’ll probably tell me – I’m so freaking weary of it.

MLB’s owners approved of, and submitted to the players, an economic proposal for the season that would see players take pay cuts (off of their already-prorated salaries) on a sliding scale, with the lowest earners in the league seeing a cut of 10 to 20%, and the highest earners seeing upwards of 50% lopped off. On reflection, it was both an extremely aggressive ask by the owners, and also a wedge – intentional or incidental – thrust into the union’s ranks. So, sure, it’s one of those things that look good on paper as a negotiation tactic if all you care about is “winning” the negotiation.

Stupid naive me, I had hoped the goal would’ve been a good outcome for the sport and the fans, not just another chance to whip the players in a financial battle.

So, the players – now under the negotiating leadership of an experienced labor attorney, rather than union chief Tony Clark – will likewise respond ultra aggressively, as their “leaked” messaging yesterday confirmed. The short version you can read out there everywhere? The owners’ proposal is terrible, awful, a non-starter, oh and also we’re still far apart on the health and safety stuff (now being used as a negotiating cudgel rather than something that all sides should be treating as an important societal issue … cool, cool).

Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich have some behind-the-scenes reactions from agents, and, like the union, they are predictably unimpressed by the opening offer.

The overall tone of the piece is that a deal will eventually get done – certainly I’ve seen plenty of acrimonious negotiations ultimately resolve well enough – but it’s gonna be a lot more ugliness in the meantime. And if a deal doesn’t get completed by early next week, the timeline for a resumption of the season gets blown up.

One odd note from the piece is that the proposal does not include an expanded postseason, which I’d presumed (1) would be natural for a short season, (2) would be natural for the owners to want anyway (as they reportedly do for the future), and (3) would increase the projected revenue pool and allow for less cuts to the players. Are the owners just holding that back as a negotiating piece, even though it benefits everyone? Or can they not include it because they still have to negotiate broadcast rights for extra games? Just odd. I have no answer at the moment.

Other odds and ends from the start of negotiations:


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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.