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MLB expected to counter players with 50-60 games, prorated salaries

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball is willing to meet the players’ union’s demands of prorated salaries, but there will be a lot less baseball than originally expected. 

ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the league intends to propose a return-to-play format that would compensate players their full salaries for the number of games played, but it will be a 50-to-60-game season. 

The league’s counter comes less than 24 hours after it was reported by multiple outlets that the players proposed a 114-game season with those prorated salaries

A major sticking point in negotiations between the union and the league has been compensation. After a March agreement shortly after activity was suspended because of the coronavirus that promised players a prorated salary for the shortened 2020 MLB season, the league proposed a 50-50 revenue split instead.

It was an idea that the players bristled at but the owners cited the impending 40% loss of revenue that would come with games being played without fans — the new reality for sports returning this season as the pandemic seemingly subsides this summer. 

MLB’s new proposal suggests that they’re willing to work with the players and give them their prorated salaries, but the union would have to compromise in the process of playing a shorter season. 

The fewer regular-season games played, which would begin in July, teams would lose less money — a reported average of $640,000 per game. 

A quick regular season would also increase the likelihood that MLB receives the major television revenue deals that come with the postseason, upward of $760 million. A potential second wave of the coronavirus, which some expect to come as the weather cools this fall, could wipe out the playoffs and provide another substantial financial hit for the league. 

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