I wrote a couple of weeks ago one of my most optimistic articles in a while (thanks 2020). In it, I detailed how it was looking more and more likely that we would have a MLB season and that the season would probably start in early July. That has become more and more likely. But, one of the juggernauts of baseball influence and power may have put a kibosh on any hope. This is due to a USA Today report that owners recently “would ask the players to forgo their salaries and instead split all revenue 50–50, that they would play 82 games and that they would expand the playoffs to 14 teams.”
Scott Boras, super agent extraordinaire has urged MLB players to refuse to play, and to go against owner plans to start the season. “The players I represent are unified in that they reached an agreement and they sacrificed anywhere from 30 to 40% of their salaries so that the games could amicably continue,” said Boras. “The owners represented during that negotiation that they could operate without fans in the ballpark. Based on that, we reached an agreement and there will not be a renegotiation of that agreement.” I take this as ‘you won’t make enough money to cover what we would’ve got in our first agreement’ and to be fair, the players are entitled to stick to the original negotiations. In those original negotiations, ownership agreed to prorated salaries for the MLB players, and that this year would count towards service time.
This backtrack is due in fact to the reality that MLB owners will not be able to fill stadiums, which is a solid part of their income stream. However, ticket sales counts for just 30% of their $10.7 Billion income from 2019. (statista.com) Consider this, the league average payroll is around $136,546,763, times 30 giving you a total of $4 Billion in salaries. I think the MLB owners can take one for the team once in their lives and just pay the guys.
Say what you want about Scott Boras, but the man knows how to get his clients worth. People scoff at these payrolls and incomes. But the fact of the matter is, baseball players are simply getting what the market dictates. One year will not be the demise of the franchises. I guess the owners have to decide. Sit out a year, and lose fan base. or bring baseball back.
-Dave Little (@DLittleMLB)
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