We’re right around the corner from the original date of Opening Day and the MLB is still working with the player’s union to figure out the best course of action in terms of players/employees getting paid, service time, and how a MLB season is going to potentially look this year, if there is one at all.
There are a handful of issues that could come to head in the next few days, including:
- “A deal with the MLB Players Association that would advance a portion of players’ salaries and cover a wide swath of labor-related issues”
- “Receiving assurances from teams that non-player employees will receive paychecks through at least April, with cost-cutting measures a possibility come May”
- “Delivering payments to minor league players, most of whom have not received a paycheck since the end of last season in early September”
MLB and the MLBPA have spent the last 10 days coordinating on a agreement that would “guarantee players a prorated salary that would depend on the number of games played” due to the acknowledgement that there will be a shortened season, with a start date still in play for early June. A number of players have spoken with ESPN and expressed their willingness to play double-headers in order to make up for lost time/games. Some even expressed that they’d be okay with multiple double-headers in a given week, citing that they would want to get as close to a 162-game regular season as possible. With this in mind, the season would likely stretch into October with playoffs happening at neutral locations throughout the month of November. Inside stadium and warm cities would be the obvious choices for locations.
In regards of service time, players such as the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts and the Reds’ Trevor Bauer would rather not lose an entire season were 2020 be called off. Each of them would be forced to hit free agency a year later than planned. Same goes with every other promising young player and solidified all-stars. A lost season would affect so much, especially contracts and money based off performance incentives and similar stipulations.
To help with player’s short-term concerns involving their financial situation, MLB has pledged an advance on salaries, totaling over $150 million that would be divided among four different classes of players. Those classes are:
1.) First-time players on the 40-man roster
2.) Players with low-salary split contracts who earn different amounts depending on whetehr they are in the minor leagues or major leagues
3.) Players with higher-salary split deals
4.) Players with guaranteed major league deals
Last week, MLB agreed to pay minor league players spring training allowances (a reported $400 per week) through April 8. Further action on behalf of minor league players are still being discussed by the MLB and MLBPA.