A return to baseball suddenly does not look as optimistic as it did at the start of the weekend.
According to Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports, players are “hopping mad” that they may be asked to take further concessions in an effort to start the 2020 MLB season, with one source saying there is “going to be a war” if owners demand more pay cuts.
Back in March, the owners agreed to give the MLBPA $170 million to divide amongst the players how they see fit. Should the season be canceled, players would pocket that money and move on. If there is a season, the $170 million would act as an advance and players would receiver their regular salaries prorated for the remainder of the season.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported on Saturday a rough outline of the league’s proposal to the owners of restarting the season, which included a further reduction in pay from the players due to the absence of fans in the stands. He added this would likely mean agreeing to a set percentage of revenue for the 2020 season.
If the players agree to this, they would share any additional national TV money generated during the postseason.
It may not be enough to appease the players, though.
MLB owners are expected to finalize their proposal to the players on a conference call Monday, but optimism is beginning to wane.
Per Bob Klapisch of NJ.com, one executive doubts the players will yield.
“I could easily see the whole thing falling apart and no baseball until next year,” he said.
Not only are players unhappy because of the previous deal in place, but they are the ones risking their health to play amid the pandemic, and it would mark a completely unprecedented circumstance in which the annual league revenue directly impacts player salary.
For instance, Calcaterra writes when Major League Baseball exceeds revenue expectations, salaries are not renegotiated upward, so the players are arguing why should they take a cut when the opposite happens?
The upcoming week should go a long way in determining if there will be baseball in 2020.