Jeff Passan has clearly become wearied with the posturing and squabbling between MLB and the MLBPA. Right near the beginning of his latest article at ESPN, he drops this gem:
“Already they have taken what could have been a triumphant return and dragged it through a swamp of pride and avarice and obduracy. In the middle of a pandemic. As cities around the country burn. With more than 40 million unemployed. It is myopic, and it is time for it to stop.“
He then points out that the MLBPA has indicated willingness to play an 82 game season at full prorated salaries. The MLB has put out the idea of 48 games at full prorated salaries. MLB is stating they lose $640K per game without fans in the stands. MLBPA disputes that and states the financial info about that which they requested from the owners was so redacted as to be useless. However, Passan found data that indicates the number is possibly about right. That, in turn makes the dispute the difference in monetary losses by the owners between 48 and 82 games per team, or about $320M. An obvious compromise would be a 65 game schedule, but both sides are too busy entrenching themselves to compromise or to apparently realize that, after all the bluster and useless efforts to convince people facing record unemployment and their own pay cuts that their cause is righteous, it all comes down to a bit over $10M per team. It’s an amount that could, frankly, be absorbed by either side.
Until either side can be more flexible than a 2×4, though, it’s a moot point.
Passan also points out that MLB can unilaterally impose a 48 game schedule at full prorated salaries. A refusal by the MLBPA to play would then likely be deemed an illegal strike…but would also almost guarantee one when the CBA expires next year. It’d also lead to rampant passive aggressive behavior by the players…Passan mentioned noncooperation with meet/greets with sponsors as an example. Since the article was published Friday, he’s already been proven right: the MLBPA’s chief negotiator sent MLB a letter today indicating unilateral imposition of the 48 game schedule would result in the MLBPA not agreeing to the expanded playofffs, which MLB wants because that would bring in more national TV money.
The whole article is worth the read: