Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer, one of eight players on the MLBPA's powerful executive subcommittee, tweeted Wednesday that the significant pay cuts in the league's proposal would not be accepted and the union would remain committed to players receiving their full prorated salaries.
"We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there's no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received", Scherzer wrote in his statement. Scherzer also said the league's strategy could not stand "if all documentation were to become public information".
And any counterproposal by the union on economics, whether it works within the framework of MLB's opening offer or goes in an altogether different direction, would be a tacit acknowledgment on the players' part that the March agreement was actually not the final word on player compensation, as union leadership has consistently maintained.
But the proposal, a long-awaited plan to potentially get some kind of a season in the books, was met with immediate disappointment by the MLB Players Association. In all, there are 133 players whose contracts call for salaries of $10m or more, not including shares of signing bonuses.
While most players have indicated they won't ease this request, others are privately discussing the possibility of deferring a portion of their salary this season.
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Players already shot down an unofficial proposal for a 50-50 revenue split with owners, insisting that would be the equivalent of a salary cap (something the union has staunchly opposed for decades). Outspoken Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer took to Twitter on Wednesday to caution super-agent Scott Boras to stay out of union affairs. The league says that agreement compels additional negotiations in the event of games without fans, and owners argue they could lose more money by playing fan-free games than by not playing at all.
However, team owners are said to be against this idea, believing it will only lead to more financial problems down the road. He was set to make $28,777,759 in base salary this season.
MLB told the union on May 12 it hoped to play an 82-game schedule that would have teams play 13 games against each division rival and six against every club in the corresponding division in the other league: NL Central vs. AL Central, for example.
No official deadline exists right now.
For a season to begin in early July, players would have to begin an abbreviated spring training by around June 10. This is late May with the calendar compressing the realistic chances for Major League Baseball to salvage some form of season this year.