Gregor: Was revenue sharing agreement reached between MLB players, owners? Depends who you ask
Given the crippling shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, there is no doubt Major League Baseball's return this summer -- even with a drastically altered look -- would be welcome with open arms by a nation increasingly desperate to virtually hug anything resembling normalcy.
Player safety and health concerns were accurately identified as the most daunting hurdles to clear when baseball hit the pause button on March 12, and owners and the Major League Baseball Players Association were on the same page when the game shut down.
"We know we'll get through this," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "We know there's another side of this at some point. We know we'll be playing baseball games again and we know it's going to be an exciting era for White Sox baseball in the not so distant future.
"It makes sense for the greater good of society as a whole to delay that for a period of time. We understand that. We know where we fit in and we look forward to, when the time is right, bringing a great deal of happiness to people who will certainly be missing this game and are in need of something to pick them up."
Ownership sent the MLBPA a 67-page draft outlining health and safety proposals last Friday.
It is still under review, and the 2020 Operations Manual will likely see multiple alterations before a second spring training can get started next month.
MLB hopes to open an abbreviated regular season and expanded playoffs in early July.
Reaching a financial settlement has seemingly become the greater issue between owners and players, which is mind-boggling in the face of the staggering unemployment numbers caused by COVID-19.
In the original agreement between the two sides reached in late March, players signed off on getting prorated pay for any games played this season.
Owners insist the deal was based on having fans in the stands when games resume.
Since that is not going to happen for an extended period -- if at all -- owners are now looking for a revenue split with players in the 50/50 range.
The Players Association and high-profile names like Blake Snell and Bryce Harper are saying it's either prorated pay or no play, but the New York Post is reporting both sides agreed to alter the agreement if games had to be played in empty stadiums.
In a text to the Post, MLBPA senior director of collective bargaining Bruce Meyer disputed that notion.
"The contract itself is very clear that in the event of a partial season, players will get paid pro rata salary, whether with fans or without," Meyer said. "And it doesn't require any further concessions on pay from players who have already agreed to give up billions of dollars in salary in the event of a partial season in which they would be taking on unprecedented risks and burdens.
"Having said that, both sides are free to make any additional proposals they want. If they have a proposal on economics they should make it, as we've repeatedly invited them to do. We have the right to respond to it. Despite all their posturing, they still haven't done so. Rather than actually negotiating over these issues the league is focusing on leaking self-serving internal memos to the media. Public posturing is not going to help us have a season."
On CNN last week, commissioner Rob Manfred said collective losses for MLB owners "could approach $4 billion" if games are not played this season.