Matt York/Associated Press
San Francisco Giants third baseman Evan Longoria threw a public jab at Major League Baseball after the league office released a statement saying it was “disappointed” the players’ association walked away from the bargaining table.
“I just want to get paid for every game that we are out there. It’s simple,” Longoria tweeted.
MLB has sent the players a number of proposals to resume the sport, all of which call on them to take a significant pay cut beyond the prorated salary they agreed to in March. The players have responded with counters of their own, which call for them to be paid their full salaries for games played.
MLBPA executive director Tony Clark released a statement Saturday, saying the players’ attempts at negotiating have fallen on “deaf ears”:
“Players want to play. It’s who we are and what we do. Since March, the Association has made it clear that our No.1 focus is playing the fullest season possible, as soon as possible, as safely as possible. Players agreed to billions in monetary concessions as a means to that end, and in the face of repeated media leaks and misdirection we made additional proposals to inject new revenues into the industry — proposals that would benefit the owners, players, broadcast partners, and fans alike.
“It’s now become apparent that these efforts have fallen upon deaf ears. In recent days, owners have decried the supposed unprofitability of owning a baseball team and the Commissioner has repeatedly threatened to schedule a dramatically shortened season unless players agree to hundreds of millions in further concessions. Our response has been consistent that such concessions are unwarranted, would be fundamentally unfair to players, and that our sport deserves the fullest 2020 season possible. These remain our positions today, particularly in light of new reports regarding MLB’s national television rights — information we requested from the league weeks ago but were never provided.
“As a result, it unfortunately appears that further dialogue with the league would be futile. It’s time to get back to work. Tell us when and where.”
MLB’s response statement said it was “disappointed” in the players for not negotiating in “good faith” to come to an agreement. The league says its March agreement was contingent on fans being in the stands, which is an impossibility with COVID-19 still increasing in several states.
The impasse between the two sides has alienated swaths of fans, who have seen other major professional sports leagues quickly agree to loose terms on their potential returns. The NFL, NBA and NHL all have collective bargaining agreements that guarantee players and owners a certain slice of the revenue pie; MLB does not.
That means ownership gets to reap the benefits when revenues exceed expectations. However, they are fighting back against potential losses due to the pandemic—ones the players dispute. The MLBPA has asked teams to open their books to show proof of financial hardship, and they have yet to do so.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has the power to dictate terms of a season to the players, as they would be violating the CBA if they chose to strike.