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Tuesday’s alternative salary proposal could be flashpoint in MLB’s 2020 return

Citi Field (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

Tuesday could provide a monumental moment in the arrival of Major League Baseball this summer. 

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich reported that the league is expected to offer an alternative compensation proposal to the player’s union rather than the revenue-sharing plan that has created a prominent roadblock.

Two weeks ago, the owners approved MLB’s plan for an early-July Opening Day to kick off an 82-game regular season that would see the players take an additional pay cut based on revenue sharing. 

With owners losing roughly 40% of their revenue with no fans in attendance, the league’s proposal would see the owners and players split the profits that came in through television broadcasts and advertising. 

For the players, it would be the equivalent of a salary cap during a season in which they already agreed to take a pay cut back in March when prorated salaries were settled upon during baseball’s hiatus.

An inability to agree on a salary structure will only postpone baseball’s return, if not completely destroy it in 2020 — which makes Tuesday’s alternative proposal so important.

Per Rosenthal and Drellich, the player’s union could choose between holding the league to those prorated salaries agreed to two months ago or take a semblance of a percentage-based pay cut to work with the owners. 

Those prorated salaries would provide a sizable hit on the wallets of all MLB teams. 

According to a report last week from the Associated Press, prorated salaries could contribute to teams losing an average of $640,000 per game.

The New York Yankees would lose $312 million, the most of any MLB club while the Mets would lose $214 million — a ripple effect that could impact teams’ spending during the offseason, especially in free agency.

It’s something that could coax the players into agreeing to an additional percentage-based pay cut, which would avoid a stalemate that could wash the 2020 season. 

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