According to an AP report, the agree-upon proposal from MLB owners includes a return to spring training in early or mid-June with the regular reason resuming “around the Fourth of July weekend.” While that latter date would otherwise seem like just another patriotic ploy to get everyone riled up for the national pastime, July 4 falls on a Saturday this year and would make for some pretty phenomenal ratings. The thing about money, you see, is that it talks.
Teams will play “about 82 regular-season games” in a schedule that would be limited to divisional matchups and tilts with corresponding divisions in the other league. In other words, the Cubs would play against their typical NL Central foes and also the AL Central. That seems like a solid compromise between a normal schedule and the 10-team divisions broken down by geography.
As previously reported, the proposal also calls for the DH to be utilized in the National League, a change that has seemingly been in the works for a while now. Rosters would expand to 30, with a 20-man taxi squad standing at the ready, and the playoffs would grow to include 14 total teams. The All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium will almost certainly be canceled as well.
League officials will present their proposal to the MLB Players Association on Tuesday, though none of the above details figure to matter much if the two sides can’t agree on pay. Rather than a straight reduction on prorated salaries, it appears as though owners are indeed going with a rev-share ploy. Per the AP report, “Teams will propose that players receive the percentage of their 2020 salaries based on a 50-50 split of revenues MLB receives during the regular-season and postseason.”
While such a deal might seem attractive on the surface, particularly if television money spikes with a shortened season and expanded playoffs, the players’ relative portion of the pie would be lower. Even though the percentage of player salaries relative to overall league revenue is lower than in most seasons over the past decade, it’s never fallen lower than 53% in that time.
In other words, going halfsies is most definitely an owner-friendly move and one that isn’t likely to be approved by the union without a fight. You have to wonder if maybe pushing to 55/45 in favor of the players would get something done, though even that is a departure from what the union believes was part of the agreement reached back on March 26. Hell, they need more than 50% just because of the increased risk they face compared to the owners.
Whatever happens, just remember that the players aren’t the bad guys here.