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MLB’s reported first salary proposal to MLBPA falls flat

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“Massive” cuts proposed by owners in addition to already agreed-to pro-rated player salaries. A look at how this might affect the Dodgers

An official Rawlings Major League Baseball for the 2020 Major League Baseball season. Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association are still far apart in negotiations for restarting the 2020 season, per multiple reports.

The initial proposal made by owners Tuesday called for drastic pay cuts for players in addition to the pro-rated salaries both sides agreed to on March 26. But in addition, the cuts are tiered, which has the potential to cause a rift in the union.

Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers at ESPN broke down the details:

Let’s use a few Dodgers as examples. Mookie Betts has a $27 million salary for 2020. A pro-rated salary for an 82-game season would be roughly $13.67 million. But under the owners’ reported proposal, given the tiers above, Betts would get about $4.7 million, or 34.2 percent.

In this proposal, there would be potential bonuses for all players that get progressively larger as postseason series are played, per Passan.

On the lower end, Julio Urias has a $1 million salary, which is just over $506,000 pro-rated over 82 games. Given this proposal he’d get roughly $417,000, or 82.4 percent.

Players with signing bonuses have a slightly different calculation. For instance, Clayton Kershaw’s $93 million contract included a $23 million signing bonus, spread evenly over the three years of the deal. His $31 million for 2020 is actually $7.67 million in a bonus, which is already earned money that he gets on June 30, plus $23.33 million in salary, only the latter affected by these proposals.

Max Muncy and Ross Stripling also signed deals with signing bonuses this year.

Using the tiers reported by Passan and Rogers, here is a rough look at what this proposal would mean for the 33 Dodgers on the 40-man roster who were still active in major league camp when spring training was canceled and rosters frozen. The pay ranges from 31.9 percent (David Price) to 89.9 percent of the pro-rated portion in this proposal.

Dodgers 2020 payroll based on owners proposal

Pos Player Total 2020 Signing bonus 2020 salary 82-g pro-rated Owners proposal % of pro-rated
Pos Player Total 2020 Signing bonus 2020 salary 82-g pro-rated Owners proposal % of pro-rated
SP David Price $32,000,000 $0 $32,000,000 $16,197,531 $5,174,915 31.9%
RF Mookie Betts $27,000,000 $0 $27,000,000 $13,666,667 $4,668,742 34.2%
SP Clayton Kershaw $31,000,000 $7,666,667 $23,333,333 $11,810,700 $4,297,549 36.4%
3B Justin Turner $19,000,000 $0 $19,000,000 $9,617,284 $3,808,248 39.6%
CL Kenley Jansen $18,000,000 $0 $18,000,000 $9,111,111 $3,656,396 40.1%
LF A.J. Pollock $12,000,000 $0 $12,000,000 $6,074,074 $2,745,285 45.2%
CF Cody Bellinger $11,500,000 $0 $11,500,000 $5,820,988 $2,669,359 45.9%
RHP Blake Treinen $10,000,000 $0 $10,000,000 $5,061,728 $2,441,582 48.2%
RHP Joe Kelly $8,500,000 $0 $8,500,000 $4,302,469 $2,137,878 49.7%
OF Joc Pederson $7,750,000 $0 $7,750,000 $3,922,840 $1,986,026 50.6%
SS Corey Seager $7,600,000 $0 $7,600,000 $3,846,914 $1,955,656 50.8%
IF/OF Kiké Hernandez $5,900,000 $0 $5,900,000 $2,986,420 $1,611,458 54.0%
IF/OF Chris Taylor $5,600,000 $0 $5,600,000 $2,834,568 $1,550,717 54.7%
SP Alex Wood $4,000,000 $0 $4,000,000 $2,024,691 $1,176,150 58.1%
RHP Pedro Baez $4,000,000 $0 $4,000,000 $2,024,691 $1,176,150 58.1%
C Austin Barnes $1,100,000 $0 $1,100,000 $556,790 $442,199 79.4%
1B Max Muncy $5,500,000 $4,500,000 $1,000,000 $506,173 $416,890 82.4%
SP Julio Urias $1,000,000 $0 $1,000,000 $506,173 $416,890 82.4%
LHP Scott Alexander $875,000 $0 $875,000 $442,901 $371,018 83.8%
RHP Jimmy Nelson $750,000 $0 $750,000 $379,630 $325,146 85.6%
SP Walker Buehler $603,500 $0 $603,500 $305,475 $271,385 88.8%
RHP Ross Stripling $2,100,000 $1,500,000 $600,000 $303,704 $270,100 88.9%
RHP Dylan Floro $593,500 $0 $593,500 $300,414 $267,715 89.1%
LHP Adam Kolarek $583,500 $0 $583,500 $295,352 $264,045 89.4%
LHP Caleb Ferguson $583,500 $0 $583,500 $295,352 $264,045 89.4%
C Will Smith $573,500 $0 $573,500 $290,290 $260,375 89.7%
1B/OF Matt Beaty $573,500 $0 $573,500 $290,290 $260,375 89.7%
SP Dustin May $573,500 $0 $573,500 $290,290 $260,375 89.7%
RHP Dennis Santana $573,500 $0 $573,500 $290,290 $260,375 89.7%
2B Gavin Lux $566,000 $0 $566,000 $286,494 $257,623 89.9%
1B/3B Edwin Rios $566,000 $0 $566,000 $286,494 $257,623 89.9%
RHP Brusdar Graterol $566,000 $0 $566,000 $286,494 $257,623 89.9%
RHP Tony Gonsolin $566,000 $0 $566,000 $286,494 $257,623 89.9%

We don’t know exactly how rosters might expand once things get going, but if we add up the difference between 82-game pro-rated salary and this owners’ proposal for all 33 players, the Dodgers would save roughly $59 million.

As you might have assumed, players aren’t thrilled with the idea of substantial pay cuts in addition to the cuts already agreed to in March. Their position is that the owners don’t share the extra wealth in the good times, why shouldn’t the owners take the hit in the rare instance the sport is less than profitable?

The owners, meanwhile, are standing firm.

There will be a lot of talk about this proposal, focusing on the financial aspects. But that’s not the only thing the sides are bickering about.

Maybe the players and owners can still work out a deal. But for now, they remain far apart.