Owners Make a New Offer to the Players - First Blush? It Looks Completely Unserious (UPDATES)

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Owners Make a New Offer to the Players – First Blush? It Looks Completely Unserious (UPDATES)

Chicago Cubs

The good news is that, out of today’s owners conference call, they decided to make a new offer to the players.

The bad news is that it looks like a nothingburger to me. If it moves the needle in negotiations at all, it would be a shock. If it exists merely to delay things further (as I just wrote my suspicion), it would not shock me. Indeed, at first blush, it looks like the kind of offer you make when you’re worried about later losing a grievance that you didn’t negotiate in good faith. (“Hey, we tried! We made another offer!”)

Here’s the first bit of the offer, as reported by Karl Ravech:

Unless the “playoff pool money” is enormous, or unless there are significant other terms not yet reported, this is such a weak offer from the owners. (Note also: taking draft pick compensation off the table for this offseason is completely meaningless. How many free agents do you think were going to get a qualifying offer in this environment?)

Also, when you factor in that some of the money isn’t even guaranteed, this offer gets worse:

Consider that we believe the owners are willing to do 50 games at full prorated pay. That means this offer is an opportunity for players to get about a 10% bump in their pay … for playing 50% more games. That is not a real offer. It’s a joke. Much like the rest of this process.

It’s just an opportunity to either rake the players over the coals for a huge win if they accept, or get them to reject, and then you get to impose the 48/50-game season after saying “hey, we tried to have a longer season but the players didn’t want to do it.”

It squares precisely with what I just wrote this morning, and it’s the kind of short-term, unthinking, nonsense that has plagued the business side of the sport now for years.

Again, the only way this moves the needle at all is if there are awesome terms in the offer that we haven’t seen yet – I mean, huge terms that have inexplicably gone unreported so far (not likely) – or if the players are not as married to full prorated pay as they’ve said they are. Frankly, without more information, I don’t see how the players even justify considering this offer at all.

UPDATE: We get some more of the terms, and they aren’t nothing (but I doubt they change the calculus):

So there is the 20% forgiveness of the money fronted by MLB to start the year, which means only 80% of that money will be treated as an advance on current salary. So it’s basically a $34 million grant to the players. Not nothing, but when you’re talking about BILLIONS in salary issues, it’s really not a significant amount.

Then there is the doubling of the postseason money, from $200 million to $400 million. That’s more significant, though obviously there’s the risk there that the postseason is shut down. Which means the players don’t get any of that money *AND* they also only get 50% of prorated pay, as noted above.

Your dream scenario at this point is that the players can successfully negotiate off of many of these items, but what SHOULD happen is the owners should just say eff it and agree right now to full prorated pay for 70+ games. That isn’t going to happen, but I’ll keep saying it anyway. It’s the smartest decision for everyone involved.

UPDATE 2: This, by the way, is why the owners love having the option to mandate whatever length of season they want – because it allows them to treat the playoff money like the biggest carrot:

UPDATE 3: Unfortunately, this has been clear for about a week now. And even more unfortunately, I think it is becoming increasingly clear that a plurality of owners actually prefer the mandated/grievance route, sport and fans be damned:

UPDATE 4: Some other bits about the situation:

And this sums it up:

Bonus: since we know the players will reject this offer, and since the owners have asked for a response by Wednesday, another achievement has been unlocked. There will be guaranteed embarrassment for the first day of the draft, which will get the most national coverage it has ever received. THE WINS DON’T STOP!


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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.