MLB Set To Offer Players Revised Deal Over Pay

The absence of fans is leading to complications between the league and union.

Bruce Levine
May 11, 2020 - 9:38 am

(670 The Score) Major League Baseball owners will hold talks among themselves and the players' association over the next two days as the two sides look to agree to a return-to-play proposal based around an 80-game season that would begin around July 1.

The split of reduced revenues due to the coronavirus pandemic is what's at issue beyond safety for all. In late March, MLB and the union agreed to a deal in which players would receive fully prorated salaries based on the number of games that were played. As an example, if a player was set to make $10 million in a full 162-game season, he would make $5 million for an 81-game season. A key detail in that agreement was that it was based upon fans being allowed to attend games.

Since then, it has become clear that when MLB returns, it will initially be without fans. That has revised the owners' thought process. MLB's new offer to the players will lower their salary from a fully prorated basis to an agreed upon per-game amount that also includes playoff television revenue sharing, sources said. Previously, all postseason television money has gone exclusively to the owners. It's unclear what percentage of the approximately $1.6 billion in playoff revenue that the owners will offer the union. 

Currently, players only receive playoff revenue in the form of ticket sales for the first three games of each Divisional Series, the first four games of the League Championship Series and the first four games of the World Series. The lion's share of playoff revenue comes from television.

In the owners' proposal, spring training 2.0 would resume about a month from now in June. Some teams could conduct their work in their home ballparks, should local and state rules allow for gatherings of the size needed to do so. Others will need to conduct their camp at their spring training sites. It's expected the Toronto Blue Jays would train in their spring training headquarters in Dunedin, Florida or another U.S. city.

As for the structure of the season with around 80 games, teams will play all their games against teams in the similar geographical part of the country to limit travel. Teams will continue to play the majority of games against their traditional division as well as crossover games against the same geographic division in the other league. For example, the White Sox could play around 50 games against their AL Central foes, plus another 30 against NL Central teams. That setup would include two series between each NL and AL team in the same geographical crossover division.

The regular season would end in early October, and the playoffs could be expanded by adding more wild-card teams.

Additionally, teams would have expanded rosters at least for the beginning of the season.

"There are a lot of hoops to jump through from the medical side," an industry source said. "We are going to be directed by health experts and governors of states and mayors of hard-hit COVID-19 cities. This season is not a 100 percent lock even if the owners and players agree. Science will ultimately determine how the plan goes forward."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.