MLBPA slams owners' idea to cut salaries on sliding scale
That's probably the best adjective to toss out when describing talks between major-league baseball owners and players this week.
Maybe BetOnline.ag has some different inside information.
The popular sportsbook is bullish on baseball coming back this year, saying "odds are still overwhelming" the game returns, likely in early July.
BetOnline on Thursday listed odds as -500 (1/5) baseball is back in 2020 and +300 (3/1) it is not.
That seems like an incredibly optimistic outlook in the wake of comments made by Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer and his agent, Scott Boras.
Let's start with Scherzer.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner is a Major League Baseball Players Association representative and he flushed the owners' financial proposal earlier this week that cuts salaries on a sliding scale.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, baseball is trying to salvage an abbreviated regular season likely played with no fans in the stands followed by an expanded playoffs.
Highly-paid players -- like Scherzer -- would take the biggest pay cuts.
"After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players, there's no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions," Scherzer wrote on Twitter. "We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there's no justification to accept a (second) pay cut based upon the current information the union has received.
"I'm glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB's economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information."
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said teams would lose a combined $4 billion if no games are played this season. The MLBPA also was informed that owners would lose $640,000 for each game played without fans in the stands.
Boras, who represents Scherzer and a stable of baseball's highest-paid players, is urging the MLBPA to stick to the prorated salary agreement reached in late March.
"Remember, games cannot be played without you," Boras wrote in an email obtained by The Associated Press. "Players should not agree to further pay cuts to bail out the owners. Let owners take some of their record revenues and profits from the past several years and pay you the prorated salaries you agreed to accept, or let them borrow against the asset values they created from the use of those profits players generated."
Boras cited Tom Ricketts buying the Cubs and redeveloping Wrigley Field as a prime example for the MLBPA standing firm on prorated pay.
"Throughout this process, they (Cubs) will be able to claim that they never had any profits because those profits went to pay off their loans," Boras said. "However, the end result is that the Ricketts will own improved assets that significantly increases the value of the Cubs. Make no mistake, owners have chosen to take on these loans because, in normal times, it is a smart financial decision.
"But, these unnecessary choices have now put them in a challenging spot. Players should stand strong because players are not the ones who advised owners to borrow money to purchase their franchises and players are not the ones who have benefited from the recent record revenues and profits."
Outspoken Reds starting pitcher Trevor Bauer said Boras should stick to worrying about his own clients.
"Hearing a LOT of rumors about a certain player agent meddling in MLBPA affairs," Bauer wrote on Twitter. "If true -- and at this point, these are only rumors -- I have one thing to say ... Scott Boras, rep your clients however you want to, but keep your (darn) personal agenda out of union business."
According to ESPN, the MLBPA is expected to make a counterproposal to owners by the end of the week. Deferring prorated salaries is likely to be a key component.