It took Major League Baseball owners 10 days to send an economic proposal to the players’ association. It took the union about 10 minutes to reject it.
The ability to play any semblance of a regular season depends on the ability of management and labor to reach an agreement. The season has been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has prompted the major U.S. sports leagues to pause their seasons.
The MLB Players’ Association said the proposal includes massive additional pay cuts, leaving union officials disappointed, a person familiar with the matter told Sportico. The sides remain far apart on health and safety protocols, too, said the person, who was granted anonymity because the talks are private.
The MLB didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on the talks. The union declined to comment.
The working model called for spring training camps in mid-June with an 82-game season played in empty big-league ballparks beginning in early July.
The union will now move to brief its members on where talks stand.
Under a deal between the two sides negotiated in late March, the owners sent a pool of $170 million to the union that was expected to last until June 1. The owners agreed to pay the players a pro-rated portion of their salaries for each game played this season, provided certain conditions were met, including games being staged with fans.
Nearly two weeks ago, the owners floated a 50-50 split of revenue based on about $1.5 billion in national and local television money. That offer was never formally presented to the players.
Instead, after a conference call among owners this afternoon, the union was given a plan that would impose the biggest salary cuts to players making the most money while lower-salary players would receive a bigger portion of their pro-rated salaries.
That plan may wind up costing the players more than the current deal. Players have lost 40% to 50% of their salaries with about half the season having already been lost.
As for health and safety concerns, owners gave the players a 67-page plan covering a host of issues, including testing. The players countered last week with feedback on testing frequency, protocols for positive cases and protections for higher-risk players.
Barry M. Bloom is a reporter for Sportico, Penske Media’s new sports business platform.