Players balk at MLB's pay-cut proposal

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In a virtual meeting that lasted for about two hours, MLB's negotiating team presented its union counterparts with its opening economic proposal - which, notably, called for further reductions in salaries for players, with the largest cuts going to the highest-paid.

The MLB player's union was clearly unhappy with the proposal issued by the owners.

"Interesting strategy of making the best (and) most marketable players potentially look like the bad guys", tweeted Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Brett Anderson, in reaction to MLB's proposal. That updated proposal would suggest the league play more games than the anticipated 82 set by the owners.

The long-awaited plan, which kicked off negotiations about a return to baseball, proposed a marginal salary structure in which the lowest-paid players would receive close to a full share of their prorated salary and the game's stars receive far less than expected. The union could propose suspending the luxury tax for 2020 and 2021, which in theory would give the higher-revenue teams more money to spend, and to eliminate the loss of amateur draft picks for clubs signing qualified free agents.

"This season is not looking promising", New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman tweeted.

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It is possible the union will see MLB's proposal as an attempt to divide its membership. Agent Scott Boras has repeatedly criticized Major League Baseball for proposing more salary reductions and has questioned the accuracy of management's financial claims. "If true - and at this point, these are only rumors - I have one thing to say. Scott Boras, rep your clients however you want to, but keep your damn personal agenda out of union business".

According to research done by FanGraphs' Devan Fink, MLB's proposal would result in players receiving less than half of their original prorated salaries, and less than one-fourth of what they made in 2019. 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. Major League Baseball contends that agreement covered only games with fans and that games in empty stadiums would require a different calculus to account for the loss of in-stadium revenue.

"It's got to come together very quickly or we won't be able to, we will just run out of time, " said Brewers chairman Mark Attanasio. "To pay players at a full contract rate, pretty much 90% of that would go to pay them and wouldn't cover any other costs". They spoke on condition of anonymity because details had not been announced. The source, who was familiar with the health and safety discussions, on Tuesday characterized the sides as also "far apart" on that front.

For a season to begin in early July, players would have to begin an abbreviated spring training by around June 10.

Issues such as roster size, trade deadlines, series length and treatment of the luxury tax would be delegated to a subcommittee.

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