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MLB owners continue to waste everybody’s time

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Friday’s 72-game proposal looks an awful lot like the 76-game proposal, with looks a lot like the 82-game proposal, which looks an awful lot like the threat of 50-ish games.

Boston Red Sox v Chicago White Sox Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

I regret to inform you that Major League Baseball owners continue to do MLB owner things. Their latest proposal to the players union is, for the most part, essentially the same as their other offers.

We’ve been through this before. Owners have offered 82 games with a sliding scale of pay cuts beyond pro-rated salaries agreed to in March. They offered 76 games with, at maximum, 75 percent of pro-rated salaries. Rob Manfred has threatened a season of a reported 48-50 games if the two sides can’t reach a deal.

All of those scenarios result in players getting paid roughly a third of their full-season salaries.

Friday’s offer from the owners is 72 games, with further salary cuts for the players.

The guaranteed money is the key here, especially given the uncertainty of the postseason being played during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s easy to say you can just push into November,” Manfred told MLB Network Wednesday. “Our medical experts are telling us we should be finishing earlier, not later, because of a risk of a second wave of the pandemic.”

Seventy percent of 72 games is the equivalent of roughly 50 games at full pay, which is the looming threat by the league if both sides can’t reach a deal. If Manfred implements the schedule without an agreement, there wouldn’t be the expanded playoffs that both sides want, and agree would bring in extra revenue.

Eighty-three percent of 72 games, which is the maximum paid to the players if the postseason is completed, is the equivalent of roughly 60 games at full pay.

The movement by MLB owners during these negotiations has been so incremental that one wonders if they really want baseball to be played at all, despite Manfred’s “100 percent” guarantee on Wednesday night that there will be a 2020 MLB season.

The owners reportedly set a Sunday deadline for the players to accept the deal, but given the reaction from many players online, they won’t need that long.