MLB owners are sticking to their latest proposal to launch a 60-game season by the end of July. Sixty games or zero games, take it or leave it – finally!
The team of thirty MLB owners, under the stage direction of Rob Manfred, has been less than forthright in overwhelming the players’ union (MLBPA) with a shell game of relentless “proposals” over the past two months.
But at least the MLB owners knew when the foreplay had to stop if there was going to be a 2020 MLB season.
MLB owners grew serious by offering a sixty-game season with full pro-rated salaries to the MLBPA, together with an expanded postseason guaranteed to line the pockets of everyone.
Sadly, the MLBPA, still living in gaga greed land, rejected the offer and countered with a 70-game season.
To the credit of MLB owners, it took all of about fifteen minutes to tell the players – No, it’s sixty games or no games.
A Look At The Numbers
Stay with me for a minute because it’s essential to see what’s really at stake for the players and more to the point when outright greed takes over.
- According to Statistica, the average MLB player’s salary in 2019 was $4.36 million. Over 162 games, that’s $29, 913. In a 60-game season, MLB owners will pay this player a pro-rated salary of $1,614, 814. Add the ten games the MLBPA wants, and his salary increases by about $270,000.
- At the bottom of the scale is the player making the minimum salary, which for this year is $563,500 or $3178 per game over a regular full season. This player stands to earn $208,880 for 60 games or $243,460 over 70 games, a difference of about $35,000.
A casual fan of baseball is likely to look at these numbers shrugging their shoulders, asking of the players – “What the problem, here? You guys have it made. Take what you have and be thankful”.
This is why the MLBPA looks foolish in these late stages of negotiations to threaten the 2020 season by upping the ante when MLB owners are finally putting a serious off on the table.
The MLBPA Fails To Make The More Persuasive Argument
The numbers shown above are the usual ones the MLBPA put out there to level their tone of greediness, along with the always stunning news that MLB owners grossed $10.6 billion in revenue, another record, in 2019.
What the players missed, however, is the opportunity to use a more reliable number to start with – not the average or minimum salaries.
As we said, the reported average salary of an MLB player is $4.36 million. However, the median income of $1.5 million tells a different story about the earnings of all players.
The average gets distorted because of the large number of players with multimillion-dollar salaries.
Last year, MLB owners paid Stephen Strasburg $38.3 million, Max Scherzer $37.4 million, Zack Greinke $34.5 million, and Mike Trout $34.1 million In 2020, Gerrit Cole joins the list of top earners at $36 million. Numbers like these skew the average upward by almost $3 million.
MLB Owners Threw The Pitch And The Players Swung And Missed
It’s all a moot point now. But it’s a lesson the MLBPA better learn for the next round of negotiations when the MLB owners and players agreement expires at the end of 2021.
Always put your best foot forward. The example above is just one instance in which the MLBPA had a chance to do just that, not only with MLB owners but the public as well.
The failure rests not with the players but with the leadership of their union. Tony Clark is a good man trying to do his best, but he is no match for Rob Manfred.
The parallel between the two men is not exact, though, because Manfred is not paid to lead.
His job rests solely on his ability to follow orders given to him by MLB owners and to see they are implemented.
Clark’s job, however, is to lead his members in their best interests by coming up with imaginative and well-researched proposals.
Players, for the most part, look to Clark, and they have little interest or time to follow daily operations. Just take care of me…
The End Of The Line For Tony Clark
Just take care of me. That is what happens when a player signs on to have Scott Boras as their agent. Boras has one message for the player, and he means it – Relax, I got your back.
Scott Boras has a net worth of a half-billion dollars because he listens, and then he pounces with three-ring binders that prove his client’s value to MLB owners.
Boras also uses his reputation as a son-of-a-bitch to his advantage by holding out until the last possible second when he sees the field clear for the “lock” on another signed contract.
Ironically, this is the same strategy employed by MLB owners and Rob Manfred. Talk, delay, talk, delay, and then close the sale at the optimum time.
The MLBPA should reach out to Boras to relieve Clark of his duties.
Would Boras even entertain the idea of becoming the president of the MLBPA? Who can say?
But the man does appear to like a challenge, and he certainly will give Rob Manfred and the MLB owners a run for their money – pun intended. It can’t hurt to ask.