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MLB players reportedly propose 89-game season

MLBPA counters owners offer within a day

New York Yankees v New York Mets Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

The MLB Players Association responded to the league one day after receiving an offer, asking for an 89-game season, per multiple reports. As has been the case for the entirety of these negotiations, the players are standing firm in asking for the pro-rated pay they agreed to in March, with no further discounts.

Some details:

Let’s look at all the offers in chronological order, in terms of equivalent games of full pay for the players, on a basic level. There are some other differences, but let’s look at these offers in the scenario of the postseason getting completed, to compare apples to apples.

For instance, the first owners’ proposal of 82 games included a sliding pay scale with different discounts based on salary levels. In total, MLB estimated the salaries would be roughly 30.7 percent of a full season (60.7% of 82 games), the equivalent of about 50 games at pro-rated pay.

A timeline of offers

Date Proposer Nominal games Pay % Equivalent games
Date Proposer Nominal games Pay % Equivalent games
Tue, May 26 Owners 82 60.7% 50
Mon, Jun 1 Players 114 100.0% 114
Mon, Jun 8 Owners 76 75.0% 57
Tue, Jun 9 Players 89 100.0% 89
Equivalent games at pro-rated pay

Keep in mind that this is probably a generous accounting of the owners’ offer, which maxes out at 75 percent pay, but only if the postseason doesn’t get canceled. There’s more risk for the players in that offer, so maybe it’s not the same as 57 games at pro-rated pay. But nominally at least, it is.

The midpoint of the owners’ and players’ first offers is 82 games at pro-rated pay. The midpoint of the last two offers is 73 games. There is movement, at least.

The flip side is the owners haven’t moved that much in terms of guarantees in their offers, both of which are roughly equivalent to the looming threat of a 50-game season if the two sides can’t agree. Most of the movement has come from the players, down from 114 games now to 89.

As more and more time passes, there is less time to get games in, especially if MLB wants to stick to something close to the normal postseason schedule in October. So the owners keep offering different sides of the same coin, stalling as the clock keeps ticking as players won’t have much choice but to get their pro-rated pay but in a much shorter season than anyone wants.

A positive sign though is that last week owners said they would not make any further offers, but then submitted an offer Monday. Then the players responded within a day, after taking six days with their last offer.

That’s something, I think.