By Field Level Media-Reuters
The Major League Baseball Players Association presented its expected counteroffer to owners on Sunday, standing firm on their stance on pay but offering concessions on several other issues, multiple outlets reported.
According to the reports, the players countered the owners’ proposed 82-game regular season with a 114-game schedule — with the flexibility of doubleheaders and to be concluded by Oct. 31.
In addition, players would have the ability to opt out of playing in 2020; players deemed “high risk” would be paid and receive service time, while those not deemed high risk who opt out would receive service time only.
High-risk players are those either with pre-existing conditions or with family members more susceptible to COVID-19.
Among the other proposals, per the reports are: players would receive a $100 million salary advance during preseason camp; playoffs would be allowed to expand to 14 teams for the 2020 and ’21 seasons; MLB can defer $100 million total in salaries should there be no postseason, with the deferments applied to contracts of $10 million or more; players would agree to additional implementation of on-field microphones and other broadcast enhancements; players would be willing to hold events such as an offseason All-Star Game or Home Run Derby to generate additional revenue
ESPN’s Jeff Passan added that the proposal places the start of the regular season at June 30.
Passan also reported that players expect owners to reject the deal, but hope that the proposal helps build a bridge toward a potential agreement this week.
In late March, the union agreed to a deal to have players paid on a prorated basis depending upon how many games are completed this year.
However, that was with the assumption that fans would be in the stands. With sports, including baseball, now looking at the likelihood of a resumption behind closed doors, MLB’s economic model was greatly impacted.
MLB owners last week presented the MLBPA with a revised economic plan for the yet-to-start 2020 season, proposing a sliding-scale of pay cuts, with the top-paid stars due to take the biggest hits.
The proposal was MLB’s attempt to revise the year’s finances based on shifting realities amid the coronavirus pandemic, which caused spring training to shut down in mid-March and has led to Opening Day being postponed indefinitely.
The league proposal to further cut player salaries drew the players’ ire. Under the plan, the highest-paid players would see the deepest cuts in pay, reportedly somewhere between 60 and 75 percent.
MLB officials have been hoping to start the season around July 1.