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Sunday, January 31, 2021

MLB proposes delaying season by a month due to COVID-19, playing 154 games with full player pay

Major League Baseball has proposed to the players’ union a 154-game season that would start a month later than scheduled, be extended by a week and come with full pay if played in its entirety, sources said Sunday.

Delivered Friday, the proposal also includes plans for an expanded postseason and a universal designated hitter.

The MLB Players Association presented the proposal to its executive subcommittee and other players over the weekend. As of Sunday afternoon the union had not responded to the league.

The union has favored starting the season on time — players are scheduled to begin reporting to spring training sites in less than two weeks — and has rejected postseason expansion. The union believes a larger postseason de-emphasizes the regular season and therefore disincentivizes competition, particularly as it relates to player compensation. After a pandemic-shortened, 60-game 2020 season in which its players were paid a little more than one-third of their salaries, the union has refused subsequent requests — official and otherwise — to accept less than full salaries in 2021 no matter how the season is constituted.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 31, 2021 at 04:33 PM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: coronavirus

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   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 31, 2021 at 04:58 PM (#6003036)
   2. JRVJ Posted: January 31, 2021 at 05:38 PM (#6003044)
The union has steadfastly rejected the expanded postseason proposal in talks this winter, believing it would disincentivize teams’ willingness to spend if it would be easier to qualify for the playoffs. The proposal, with rosters mostly set, would be only for the 2021 season, which the two sides agreed to last season just hours before Opening Day


Whose market would be affected if the playoffs are expanded?

We already had this discussion a few years ago, and it was pointed out to me that teams have a budget, so adding the DH in the NL would not move those budgets much.

But at some point in the off-season, it does beg the question of whether expanded playoffs would really decrease spending. In the NL, the Padres, Mets and Phillies have both made big investments, and those three teams would benefit from expanded playoffs.

The Nats and now the Cardinals have also increased payroll (via the Arenado trade, though nobody else is adding money in the NL Central).

So who exactly is going to be spending money, other than maybe for the Nelson Cruzes and Marcel Ozunases of the world, at least in the NL?

***

In the AL, the Yankees have sort of spent (LeMahieu, etc.), but not as much as they normally would, but expanded playoffs won't change that.

The Rays, BoSox or Orioles aren't going to be spending any more money. Toronto MIGHT, but they probably would anyway, with or without expanded playoffs.

In the Central, the ChiSox have already spent good money, and the Twins might still spend some more (I could see the Twins not spending too much more if the playoffs are expanded). I see nobody else in the AL Central disbursing much more money, with or without expanded playoffs.

And in the AL West, who exactly is spending money? The Astros probably won't, the A's and Mariners won't, so that really only leaves the Angels, who might spend some money.

It's hard for me to see who exactly is going to be spending less money due to expanded playoffs, other than Toronto (maybe) and the Angels.
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 31, 2021 at 06:15 PM (#6003049)
I think the more likely explanation is the union wants to keep expanded playoffs as a bargaining chip for things they really want, rather than giving it away for something they feel they are entitled to already - full pay.
   4. John Northey Posted: January 31, 2021 at 07:47 PM (#6003059)
8 fewer regular season games - so less work for all members, with some getting an extra round of playoffs to deal with. Seems fair. I don't get the 'teams won't spend if they are locked for playoffs' as I haven't seen evidence of that in the NBA or NHL. Owners still want to win and still want the glory, and increased revenue streams. Plus now more teams are in eyeshot of making the playoffs so does the reduced incentive at the top get balanced by an increased incentive at the bottom? I'd think so.

IMO this is something the union should look at accepting, perhaps with a small increase in minimum salary so the many 1st/2nd/3rd year players get a raise - say $10-50k each. Makes sense to push for something and that would help those players get through any stoppage in 2022.
   5. JRVJ Posted: January 31, 2021 at 07:56 PM (#6003062)
4, it seems like something that's at least worth discussing.

There's still a pandemic raging worldwide, and delaying the start of spring training and the regular season by a month means anywhere from 45MM to 60MM more Americans should be vaccinated by then (don't know about the numbers in Canada, for the Jays).

Phrased differently, a delay that allows more Americans to be vaccinated before players go to spring training actually has some health benefits for MLB players, as it decreases the risk of players and/or their family becoming infected.
   6. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 31, 2021 at 09:41 PM (#6003072)
Rosenthal has more.

Under the league’s proposal, spring training would start on March 22 and the regular season on April 28, with the postseason extending in the early part of November. The league’s network partners want the World Series to conclude on schedule in late October, but would be willing to consider an extension of about a week, sources said. If no agreement is reached, both spring training and the regular season will open on time, and the season will consist of 162 games.


The players are also concerned Manfred has too much power to suspend or cancel games, and are concerned they have no guarantee of pay if games are cancelled.
   7. Tom Goes to the Ballpark Posted: January 31, 2021 at 10:20 PM (#6003080)
The players are also concerned Manfred has too much power to suspend or cancel games, and are concerned they have no guarantee of pay if games are cancelled.
This point seems to be under the radar in most of the coverage of this, but it seems like the key issue to me. What is the point of agreeing to full pay for 154 games if Manfred can cut the season down as much as the owners want on the flimsiest of pretexts. The owners cut at least a month off the season in 2020 to save some bucks. How foolish would MLBPA have to be to not see it coming this time?
   8. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 31, 2021 at 11:05 PM (#6003083)
The players are also concerned Manfred has too much power to suspend or cancel games, and are concerned they have no guarantee of pay if games are cancelled.
Players should make a counter offer that makes any further curtailment of the season subject to collective bargaining. Let’s see who wants to play, and who doesn’t.
   9. TomH Posted: February 01, 2021 at 07:04 AM (#6003088)
expanded playoffs: Can't SOMEONE rattle the owners' brains into seeing that maximizing short-term profits is not the best metric, if it hurts long-term fandom??
   10. JRVJ Posted: February 01, 2021 at 09:09 AM (#6003093)
7/8, you raise good points, and these are precisely the type of issues in which sane counterparties would sit down and negotiate.

As mentioned above, there is still a pandemic raging worldwide, and one would hope that a solution can be found that is good for players, personnel, etc.
   11. KronicFatigue Posted: February 01, 2021 at 09:26 AM (#6003096)
8 fewer regular season games - so less work for all members, with some getting an extra round of playoffs to deal with. Seems fair. I don't get the 'teams won't spend if they are locked for playoffs' as I haven't seen evidence of that in the NBA or NHL. Owners still want to win and still want the glory, and increased revenue streams. Plus now more teams are in eyeshot of making the playoffs so does the reduced incentive at the top get balanced by an increased incentive at the bottom? I'd think so.


I can't speak to the NHL, but the NBA has a salary cap and it feels like the "better" teams tend to win in playoff series. If we're taking MLBPA at their word, I think what they're worried about are the Yankees (and Yankees-eque) teams spending less b/c of expanded playoffs. There's always incentive to get better, but those incentives start to diminish the more randomized the playoffs become.

Take a team with the talent to win 90 games. In the old system adding more talent to that team increases their odds of winning a title at a higher rate than with the expanded playoffs. I imagine the handful of teams in this situation move the salary needle more than the 2nd tier teams whose ceiling is the wild card.
   12. SoSH U at work Posted: February 01, 2021 at 09:43 AM (#6003099)
I can't speak to the NHL, but the NBA has a salary cap and it feels like the "better" teams tend to win in playoff series. If we're taking MLBPA at their word, I think what they're worried about are the Yankees (and Yankees-eque) teams spending less b/c of expanded playoffs. There's always incentive to get better, but those incentives start to diminish the more randomized the playoffs become.


The NHL would be a much better barometer than the NBA on this question. In the NBA, the better team is much more likely to win an individual game or series than its equivalent team in baseball. Hockey is much more like baseball in terms of the likelihood of a lower-seeded team winning a series.
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 01, 2021 at 11:24 PM (#6003260)
MLB announces no agreement, so the season will start on time, no expanded playoffs, no NL DH this year. Playoffs will be like they were in 2019.
   14. Greg Pope Posted: February 02, 2021 at 10:46 AM (#6003303)
There's still a pandemic raging worldwide, and delaying the start of spring training and the regular season by a month means anywhere from 45MM to 60MM more Americans should be vaccinated by then (don't know about the numbers in Canada, for the Jays).

Phrased differently, a delay that allows more Americans to be vaccinated before players go to spring training actually has some health benefits for MLB players, as it decreases the risk of players and/or their family becoming infected.


Isn't this a huge incentive for the owners to delay a month? If they start in April there will likely still be restrictions in place for many places in terms of fans. The longer the season is delayed, the more fans can be in the stands.
   15. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 02, 2021 at 11:40 AM (#6003311)
That is exactly why owners want a delay.
   16. JRVJ Posted: February 02, 2021 at 01:44 PM (#6003321)
14, Of course the owners want to get more money out of fans. They're not acting out of the goodness of their hearts (assuming there is goodness in their hearts).

My point has been that delaying the season is arguably a win-win to both sides (*), since players' health would be less imperiled by pushing back the start of the season for a month.

(*) This assumes that players will get paid for the full 162 games, even if some games get cancelled due to the Commissioner's decision. I read different things about this point, so I don't want to put my hand on the fire as to what was MLB's final proposal on the issue.
   17. Walt Davis Posted: February 02, 2021 at 02:30 PM (#6003335)
Pardon my ignorance but, even with a cap, isn't the NBA usually 4-6 "super teams", about 16 teams spinning wheels and relying on expanded playoffs to make some claim of success and 10 teams tanking it?

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