There was a LOT going on in the baseball world last night. I'm going to explain everything as best I can and cite a bunch of tweets and people. Oh, and it's going to be long. But this is going to be the current MLB breakdown by the common man, for the common man.
As it stands right now, MLB and the player's union are in a gutter war on multiple issues, and it's very ugly to the outsider. I'll put it in layman's terms right now: MLB proposed that the richest players in baseball take a pay cut of their prorated salaries of about 90% or so. There is then a sliding scale that goes down the ladder all the way to a minimum wage earner who would be making about 90% of his prorated salary.
This does a few things:
1. it pits the players against each other. About 65% of baseball players are making league minimum. At a glance, they'd want to take this deal while the veterans + highest paid players would not. The argument would be player vs. player, not the player vs. owners. Sneaky awesome punch this was by MLB and owners.
2. The general fan will see Mike Trout or Bryce Harper or whoever still making $7MM or so. They'll look at that number, compare it to their $50K a year construction job, and want to tell those two players (and most others) to fuck themselves "if they won't play a GAME for millions of dollars!!!" The optics would be REALLY bad to fans who don't spend 10 mins looking into actual details of this process. "Millionaires arguing with billionaires over money" when that's far from the case. It's much more nuanced.
Owners are also dragging this out as long as possible so that time is on their side as a leverage tactic. If they make their final offer at the 24th hour, what are the players going to do? At that point it. would have either been "play or don't play" and that's a standoff the players would have probably lost, at least until last night.
I'll get to the "probably" in my last sentence in a moment. But back to the latest proposal by owners: players took to Twitter to laugh in its face over the last few days, as (in my opinion) they should have.
Let's start with Mike Clevenger:
Ignore the "Midas whale" typo, he's a ballplayer and a goddamn good one. And he's right - he shouldn't have to bend over to billionaires who already made an agreement to prorated salaries based on games played. But Clev is still a guy who's never touched free agency, as he's got 2 more years before that happens. He only stood to make $4.1MM this year after his arb hearing over the winter, a prorated form of that after the march agreement when the game first shut down, and would have made ~$750K under the new proposal. All in all, he's not one that was going to lose a lot of money, all things considered, kinda-ish.
He's not fighting for himself, he's fighting for players like Max Scherzer, who would have gone from making $30MM in a full season to $7MM under the proposed structure. Yeah…. ain't happening. Mad Max's words, not mine:
Yeah, his voice holds some weight. How much weight? Ummmm he's a MLBPA officer. He was told to make this statement from players and union reps of all teams involved in this process.
Below we have Eugene Freedman is a union lawyer. Read this very important thread explaining Scherzer's tweets:
GENIUS move by the players. All prior to last night, I have said that the owners are using time as leverage to force the players to concede and take it up the pipe from the owners at the last minute just to salvage some pay. Now they don't have to because they're using the EXACT same tactic the owners just used on them and flipping it on the owners themselves.
When I saw this tweet last night…
I thought to myself "fuck yeah. Let's play as many games as we possibly can!!" and little did I know that it was actually a chess move positioning for check mate. Again, I'm going to explain this as simply as possible:
MLBPA's position is that discussion on pay is final after their March agreement with owners. At a glance that sounds BAD for fans wanting baseball back because no way would owners agree to that, right?
FUCK! No baseball!!
Not so fast. Owners disagree that they should prorate players' salaries because of ambiguous wording in the original agreement. In that agreement, the player's association got their way with pay. MLB and owners got their way with scheduling. Both agreements were made in the same larger agreement.
So the player's association is now doing EXACTLY what the owners just did when they tried to reopen the pay decrease/sliding scale discussion, except they're using the schedule as a leverage tactic since it is and was originally in owners and MLB's control. MLB can't allow the players to reopen those discussions because they're asking for MORE games, which in the current prorated structure would then mean MORE pay for the players.
SO so so so… MLB has to decline more games and say that the March agreement is final. This now gives the players union the upper hand by saying "exactly, the March agreement is final, thus the prorated salaries are final." So with MLBPA not countering MLB and owners on economics and instead attacking the scheduling part of the agreement, they're solidifying that the March agreement cannot and will not be amended or revisited. They're basically daring the owners and MLB to look like a bunch of hypocrites, and the way I see it, that literally can't and won't happen.
For all of the shit I've given Tony Clark, this was an incredible move by him. Oh, and Scherzer and the union are still daring the owners to open their books on top of it. Do it you cowards!!!!
Na.. that ain't happening. Owners won't ever open their books especially right now. My gut says they'd swallow their multibillion dollar loss just out of pride and egotism before opening their books and that's one more reason the players OFFICIALLY have the upper hand in these negotiations.
We'll see where they go from here. I'm calling an agreement in paper 1 week from today. July 4th opening day. Let's boogie!