Players could be pushing a group of owners toward pulling the plug on the 2020 season, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported.
As tensions escalate between owners and the players association over proposals that include varying levels of modifications to the typical MLB financial model, players introduced a proposal for a longer season — 114 games — that would allow for earning more pay on a prorated basis.
But Olney said at least one group of owners is unwilling to budge on the previous proposal from MLB, which offered tiered salary reductions. Essentially, the highest-paid players would lose more to help prevent deeper cuts to lower-wage players.
“Sources say there is a group of owners perfectly willing to shut down the season, to slash payroll costs and reduce losses, and the disparate views among the 30 teams have been reflected in the decisions to fire and furlough.
“The Pirates’ Bob Nutting used the shutdown as an avenue to suspend team contributions to employee 401K plans — savings best measured monthly in the tens of thousands of dollars rather than the millions that would actually be difference-making for a franchise probably worth at least $1 billion.
“The Oakland Athletics’ John Fisher decided to eliminate the $400 weekly salaries of minor leaguers, which might save the franchise about the amount of the team’s unpaid stadium rental bill.
“On the other hand, clubs such as the Tigers, Padres and Royals demonstrated greater humanity, with the Royals’ John Sherman deciding to pay his minor leaguers,” Olney wrote.
Discussions are expected to continue this week, but a deadline to get the players back together for a reboot of spring training is rapidly approaching, Olney said.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)