Nitkowski: One Way Or Another, Owners Will Get Their Money Back

MLB players want as much as they can get in the short-term, but there's no doubt that owners will win the big-picture battle

The DA Show
May 29, 2020 - 10:42 am
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As Major League Baseball continues to negotiate return-to-play proposals with the MLB Players Association, C.J. Nitkowski remains confident that there will be baseball in 2020.

“I feel better about it because there’s conversation,” Nitkowski said on The DA Show. “Even though it’s kind of been an ugly conversation, I can’t imagine that we would make that big of a mistake and blow this thing. You just can’t. Both sides are going to have to figure it out because long-term damage is a real thing. I am concerned about that.”

Nitkowski was drafted in 1994 – the same year as the strike, which resulted in a lost postseason and the longest work stoppage in MLB history. It took years for the league to recover; some say it never did.

“Back then, we had double the ratings in the postseason that we do now,” Nitkowski said. “Baseball does not have as much of the landscape and the audience that they once did. I don’t believe that Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa are going to come through that door again. I don’t know if we have the next version of that. I know that there’s certain things on the horizon with sports and the way we watch sports and some of the gambling stuff that might be tied in. I think we’ll always be drawn to that, but I don’t want to take that risk. My livelihood, even as a non-player, revolves around the game. I’d be really frustrated if we blew this, and fans would be frustrated if we blew this right now. I will remain optimistic until I hear otherwise, that there would be no season, but I don’t think that’s a reality. This game cannot afford it.”

Nevertheless, many players have been outspoken in their opposition to MLB’s return-to-play proposals, particularly as it pertains to compensation.

“I appreciate the passion [of] guys like Max Scherzer and Trevor Bauer, but they’re not helping,” Nitkowski said. “They’re not helping their cause, and maybe they don’t care about winning the PR war. But when they get their first offer, Max Scherzer says, ‘Shut it down, don’t even go back with a counter proposal,’ I don’t think anybody wants to hear that. We love Max Scherzer, but there’s just not an appetite for that right now because people are struggling in their own world in a really big way.”

While players want to get as much money as possible in the short-term, Nitkowski explained that owners, big picture, will win this battle.

“One way or another, the owners are going to get that money back,” he said. “If they have to go full-prorated, and they know they’re taking losses doing it, it’s going to be affected in the offseason – and maybe not just this one, but the ones going forward. Teams have shown us they are not afraid to go ahead and rebuild and spend absolutely no money for three years. We’ve seen enough organizations willing to do that, so we just have to be really careful. They’re going to get their money. Their losses, they’re going to make up for them one way or another, whether it’s right now in 2020 or it’s in the next couple of offseasons going forward.”