Verducci: Players, Owners Can't Keep Digging In Their Heels

MLB players and owners must reach an agreement, Tom Verducci says, and the deadline for that agreement is rapidly approaching

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
May 18, 2020 - 9:56 am
Blake Snell 2019

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Major League Baseball has plans in place for an 82-game regular season and an expanded playoff format. It also has testing protocols in place for the coronavirus. 

There’s just one problem: the players and the owners don’t agree on money.

Shocking, right?

“The owners look at the situation and say, ‘Listen, you guys are playing in empty ball parks. Our revenues are going to be down 40 percent because we’re playing with no fans, and we want you to accept just 50 percent of what’s going to be really reduced revenues,’” SI and MLB Network’s Tom Verducci explained on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Now, when you talk about revenue sharing to players, that is not something that’s going to fly. They say, ‘We should be paid on a per-game basis, so if we’re playing half a season, we get half of our salaries, whether there’s people in the stands or not.’ Their contention is they actually agreed on this – players and owners – back in March. So that’s the sticking point here.”

Several players, including Trevor Bauer and Blake Snell, have spoken against MLB’s 2020 proposal – the revenue-sharing aspect, in particular.

Verducci believes that both sides must reach an agreement by the end of May for baseball to execute its plan for the season.

“We’re up against a soft deadline to have that come to fruition,” Verducci said. “Like a lot of things in baseball, these two sides dig in their heels, they take their positions, and they wait until the last minute to come to some sort of compromise.”

Verducci, however, doesn’t know if that approach is feasible this time around.

“I think the stakes are so high that, to me, they can’t afford to continue just digging in their heels and playing this thing out without an agreement,” Verducci said. “It’s not a matter of just working out a new math equation in terms of what the percentages are, but I do think both sides have too much at stake not to find some common area that they can agree on a payment system for a shortened season.”