Monday, June 8, 2020

The Road to Nowhere

When I first read about MLB presenting a new proposal to the Players, I felt some guarded optimism. I thought that it was significant that MLB bothered at all to make a counterproposal after saying they weren't going to make one. Sadly, though, as the details continue to come out it became clear that this wasn't going to be a gamechanger for breaking the stalemate. It seemed like every new detail that leaked out over the course of the day made it clearer that this offer wasn't going to move the sticks at all.

Craig Edwards at FanGraphs summarizes both the proposal and the way it came out over the course of the day:

  • First we learned that there was a new proposal from MLB where there would be a 76-game schedule and the players would be paid 75% of their prorated salaries across the board. The proposal would also eliminate draft pick compensation for free agent signings for this coming off-season only. This would be a concession to the Players' worry that the current financial situation would negatively impact free agents contracts.
  • Later we found out that the 75% salaries would only be paid if all of the Playoffs were completed. If not, the compensation would drop to 50%  of prorated salaries.
  • Then later we learned that players would be required to sign an "acknowledgment of risk" waiver in order to play.

Many of the details that leaked out made it seam less and less likely that this proposal had any chance of being accepted by the players. Other than forgiving 20% of the money that was advanced to the players in the original negotiations, it became clear that MLB was asking the Players to take all of the physical risks involved with playing and a good chunk of the financial risks, too.

Edwards does a good job of showing how little the players would benefit from this offer compared to the others that have been discussed. As he points out, the players are risking $80 million in pay if COVID-19 shuts the game down before the expanded Playoffs are completed. Edwards also demonstrates that the players would actually do better under the 48-game fully prorated pay schedule discussed last week.

This just seems to be keeping to the familiar pattern where MLB doesn't seem capable of coming up with a genuine offer that has any chance of moving these negotiations along. Meanwhile, the Players Union under Tony Clark has yet to show any imagination with their offers. We just seem to all be on the same road to nowhere as Major League Baseball seems committed to doing irreparable harm to their game.

Joel Sherman had the perfect description of the whole fiasco in today's New York Post:
Each offer takes the sides further apart and creates more animus than peace.
 This thing is going to keep dragging on. It's quite possible that the 48-game schedule that MLB was batting around last week, as ridiculously short as it would be, might be the best we can hope for as the two parties continue to talk past each other rather than to each other.

It reminds me of a time, years ago, when I used to work second shift and party hard with a group of like-minded friends every night. Most of us knew how to pace ourselves and handle ourselves in a responsible manner. We had a lot of fun, but we didn't let things get out of hand. There was always one or two guys that just couldn't control themselves. A few drinks in they would start acting like a**holes, even thought they seemed to be convinced they were being cool. They never seemed to understand how bad they looked to everyone else. Eventually, if they didn't straighten out the rest of us would just cut them loose.

I assume that the MLB and Union negotiators aren't simply drunk and stupid, although that would be one possible explanation for this ongoing insanity. It's hard to understand how they could be so clueless about what they look like to the rest of the world as they continue to try to out-clever each other in these offers that have so little chance of going anywhere. Every move not only drives the two sides further apart, it makes a joke of the whole game.


Haven't heard much about Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez lately, although I assume they're still trying to put together financing for their attempt to own the Mets. Hope they're aware that there are a couple of new billionaires in town hoping to wrest that prize away from them.

Hey, the more the merrier. We Mets fans need this team to be sold. Wouldn't be a shame if, now that we can finally see an end to the Wilpon ownership, if MLB destroyed itself before a white knight has a chance to ride in and rescue us?

I'm out for today. See you soon. Please stay safe.

 Follow me on Twitter @MikeSteffanos

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