MLB players disappointed with pay cuts in return plan

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Major League Baseball players are disappointed with pay cuts in the latest proposal from team owners to return from a coronavirus pandemic shutdown, dimming hopes for a 2020 campaign.

A revenue-sharing plan pitched by the league to the MLB Players Association on Tuesday reportedly had a harsh reception from players, with top-paid stars taking a larger salary hit than those making nearer minimum paychecks.

"This season is not looking promising," tweeted New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman. "Keeping the mind and body ready regardless."

Multiple reports said the proposal contained a sliding pay scale giving lower-paid talent about half of a season's pro-rated salaries while star players would take a more substantial hit.

"We made a proposal to the union that is completely consistent with the economic realities facing our sport," an MLB statement said.

That's not how the MLBPA saw it.

"The union is extremely disappointed," an MLBPA statement said. "We're also far apart on health and safety protocols."

Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Brett Anderson pondered the motivation behind the league's offer, tweeting: "Interesting strategy of making the best most marketable players potentially look like the bad guys."

Former MLB pitcher Dallas Braden saw the move as a bid to try and split the union and make top-paid players look bad while doing so.

"Insulting," he tweeted. "Unfortunately fans will not see this as an attempt by the owners to pit the high $ guys Vs. league minimum guys.

"What's great for the owners is not only do they not care about that, they KNOW fans will view it as the high $ guys being selfish & not caring about others."

The player response came on the same day the Los Angeles Dodgers announced cost-cutting moves, including salary reductions for all employees above an unrevealed pay level, higher-paid employees taking a larger hit in order to preserve hundreds of jobs, according to a team statement.

MLB shut down in mid-March during pre-season games two weeks before the scheduled start of a six-month 2020 season due to the deadly virus outbreak.

The latest league proposal, which reportedly includes $200 million in playoff bonus money, features plans for an 82-game half-season starting in early July after three weeks of training and finishing in late September, although to meet the schedule a deal would need to be completed in early June.

Not since a labor dispute shut down the 1994 MLB campaign has no World Series champion been crowned in a season.

"Praying that we get this figured out and back on the field soon," Stroman tweeted. "It's hard to put into words how much I miss the game."