The players are swinging for the fences in their negotiations with Major League Baseball.
Multiple reports on Monday revealed that the players’ union proposed a 114-game schedule with no additional pay cuts for the 2020 season delayed two months by the coronavirus pandemic.
By this format, Opening Day would be scheduled for June 30 with the regular season ending by October 31. It would leave 123 games to play 114 games, which would call for several double-headers to alleviate the stress of such a packed campaign.
The World Series would likely be played through Thanksgiving in this system.
Such an expanded schedule is 32 games more than the league’s initial proposal to the players, which included 82 games and a 50-50 revenue split between the owners and players — the latter proving to be the main point of contention within negotiations.
The players remain adamant that they should make their full prorated salaries, which pays them what they are normally owed per game for the number of games played.
The owners, citing 40% revenue losses from having no fans in attendance at these potential returning games, have softened since the initial proposal, but have not accepted the concept of prorated salaries.
Last week saw the league propose a system of sliding pay cuts, impacting the league’s highest-paid players more than the others. It was once again denied by the players, led by Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer saying the players won’t entertain any more pay cuts.
Players would have the option not to play this season if they or members of their family are at high risk of contracting the coronavirus and would still receive their salary and service time.
One of the league’s main concerns with an elongated schedule is the increased risk of a second wave of the coronavirus wiping out the postseason when the weather gets cooler, incurring a $700-plus million loss in TV revenue.
If that were to happen, the players proposed that $100 million in salary would be deferred, with interest, to November 2021 and November 2022.