Scherzer vows MLB players won't take more cuts to return

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New York (AFP)

World Series champion pitcher and players union leader Max Scherzer says his members will reject deeper pay cuts to play a 2020 Major League Baseball season.

As talks between team owners and the MLB Players Association intensify in search of a deal to start the season after a coronavirus pandemic shutdown, the Washington Nationals star fired a warning on Twitter.

"After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there's no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions," Scherzer tweeted late Wednesday night.

Scherzer, a member of the union executive subcommittee, says players are committed to receiving the full pro-rated salaries they agreed on March 27.

"We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries," Scherzer said. "And there's no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received.

"I'm glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB's economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information."

Scherzer, a 35-year-old right-hander, is a three-time winner of the Cy Young Award for his league's top pitcher. He helped lead the Nationals' to last year's World Series title.

Club owners submitted a plan to players this week featuring deeper salary cuts that weighed heaviest on MLB's highest-paid players, taking back up to 75% of total pay in some cases while reclaiming the least from those near minimum paychecks.

The MLB proposal sought an 82-game schedule to open in July after three weeks of pre-season training, with games to be played at home stadiums with no spectators.

MLB argues that it would lose money if players are paid on a pro-rated basis for a 2020 campaign while revenue streams from spectators are shut down due to the virus.

Players are expected to make an offer of their own this week to team owners seeking a season of more than 100 games, which would bring them more money on a pro-rated basis.