Scathing letter accompanies MLB counterproposal as impasse with players continues

first_imgNegotiations between MLB and the players’ union to start the 2020 season have heated up — but not in a good way.Along with their counterproposal sent to the union Friday, MLB’s deputy commissioner and chief legal officer Dan Halem included a biting letter addressed to the union’s lead negotiator, Bruce Meyer. The letter (a copy of which was obtained by the Orange County Register) makes clear the ownership’s position regarding the March agreement between the two sides and shows disdain for the players’ stance — that they were guaranteed full pro-rated salaries for any games played should baseball resume this year.The letter’s tone makes it seem more likely that any baseball played this season will only come after MLB commissioner Rob Manfred mandates an abbreviated regular season (around 50 games) and an expanded postseason (played on time in October) that would bring the TV revenue MLB craves.“While we recognize that this essentially has been a negotiation with ourselves because the (Players) Association has offered little beyond what we already have the right to do under the March Agreement, we will make another attempt to reach an agreement that is a win-win for both sides,” Halem said in the letter before outlining the latest proposal — a 72-game regular season beginning around July 14 and ending September 27 with an expanded postseason. During negotiations in March, Halem said in the letter, ownership made it “crystal clear” that playing without fans in attendance “was not economically feasible.”“We provided you with financial information showing the amount of revenue from gate/in-park (approximately 50% of local revenue),” Halem said Friday. “The Commissionerhimself said during the negotiations, according to our bargaining notes, ‘We’re not playing empty, it just doesn’t work for us.’ The Association acknowledged as much, which resulted in Section I of the March Agreement, providing the Office of the Commissioner with the unilateral right to resume the season only when (among otherconditions) there were no restrictions on regular fan access in all 30 Major League ballparks.“And the Association, for giving up essentially nothing because players had no right under their contracts to be paid during the national emergency, received hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of benefits, including a full year of service for a shortenedseason … a full year of service if there was no season, and salary advances totaling $170 million (which were non-refundable if there was no season).”Halem dismisses player suggestions that MLB has an “obligation to play as many games as possible.” That is “flatly contradicted” by the March agreement, he said in the letter, which places “no obligation” on teams “to play any games, let alone any particular number of games.”“We negotiated that provision precisely to protect the Clubs from being leveraged into the economically infeasible alternative of playing in empty stadiums without a corresponding reduction in salaries,” Halem said.According to Halem’s letter, “everyone involved in the (March) negotiations understood that if we could not resume play with regular fan access, the parties would have a subsequent negotiation over reductions to player compensation to account for the loss of billions of dollars of gate/in-park revenue.”Related Articles Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Dodgers’ Will Smith: ‘I feel like it’s been five years’ since his 2019 debut That proposal has been characterized as dead on arrival by many players posting on social media.“It expired as soon as they hit send,” Pirates pitcher Trevor Williams posted on Twitter, referring to MLB’s demand for a response this weekend.In obvious reference to the counterproposal, Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen simply posted, “lol.” When asked to be more specific, he responded, “Laugh Out Loud.”Players have made it clear they believe they are the ones negotiating “with ourselves.” Each of ownership’s three proposals have allotted roughly the same amount of money to salaries — 70 to 80 percent of pro-rated salary tied to only slightly increased numbers of games to be played.The players’ union has remained steadfast in its interpretation of the March agreement — that it guarantees any pay for 2020 will be fully pro-rated based on the number of games to be played. Halem again asserted MLB’s belief that the agreement (which included a $170 million non-refundable salary advance to the players) gave it the right to negotiate player compensation based on economic realities — such as the loss of revenue from games staged without fans in attendance. Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies center_img It is clear the two sides’ different interpretations of the March agreement “has been a stumbling block to negotiating a resolution” — something which has been apparent for weeks now. But Halem adds a further swipe at the union’s stance.“You suggest in your letter that the Association’s 89-game proposal at full daily salaries ‘is made in the interests of settlement,’” he wrote. “However, the parties are not engaged in settlement discussions, and it is unclear what exactly you are trying to ‘settle.’” How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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