Talks between major-league owners, players stay quiet for most part
It was all quiet on the major-league baseball negotiating front Wednesday, for the most part.
While talks between owners and players continued to focus on health and safety, one major leaguer, Cincinnati Red starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, and one former player, outfielder Adam Jones, took to social media to express outrage with a reported plan to play an abbreviated 82-game regular season starting in July under a revenue-sharing plan.
In late March, just over two weeks after the coronavirus pandemic shut down spring training, players and owners agreed to prorated salaries for any games played.
Like Major League Player Association executive director Tony Clark, agent Scott Boras and even Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker earlier this week, Bauer and Jones are not happy with the change of plans.
"Same song and dance from @mlb," Bauer wrote on Twitter. "Leak a story. Negotiate through the media. Make players out to be the bad guys. Players already agreed to a pay cut. We negotiated. WE HAVE AN AGREEMENT. Now they want to go back on it so they can make more money? (Get The Bleep Out)."
Jones, now playing in Japan after a 14-year career in the majors, called on the game's major stars to join Bauer's cause.
"It's time for the BIG GUYS in MLB to speak up," Jones posted on Twitter. "This is your time to speak. Stop holding your tongue. (People) follow and listen to you. Not gonna name names cause there's a lot of (people). Who cares what you make. You earned it. Who cares about backlash!!"
Pritzker got plenty of backlash for his Tuesday comments after he was asked about baseball coming back this summer.
"I must say I'm disappointed in many ways that players are holding out for these very, very high salaries and payments during a time when I think everybody is sacrificing," Pritzker said. "I realize the players have the right to haggle over their salaries, but we do live in a moment where the people of Illinois and the people of the United States deserve to get their pastime back, to watch anyway on television."
A day later, he backed off.
"I want to apologize for leaving the impression that players shouldn't be allowed to bargain to protect their health and safety," Pritzker said Wednesday. "They absolutely have that right, and I should have made that more clear."
One thing that is quite clear is there will be no baseball at all this year if players don't feel safe.
In April, White Sox head team physician Dr. Nik Verma stressed the need for robust testing to get the game back up and running.
"I think all the same basic principles of having robust access to testing need to be in place for us to do that because you can't have a situation where if somebody tests positive the entire league shuts down," Verma said. "It's just like you can't have a process where if somebody walks into my office and tests positive, the entire medical center goes down.
"We need to be able to test people early, take them out of circulation, test contacts, determine who's safe and then continue with whatever business activity we're doing."