Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
After reading about Major League Baseball's proposal for a sliding scale of pay cuts that penalized the highest earners, one veteran role player had to grudgingly admire what the owners had done.
"They've just taken the biggest problem in the union, the pay class divide, and flipped it on its head," the player said. "And now they'll watch as the union tears itself apart as the highest paid fight back on this while the lowest paid say 'whoa whoa whoa, we like this!' The union will try to convince those young, naive players that it's in their interest to stand together, but it isn't."
Inside any major league clubhouse, there are wealthy players and players making the minimum salary. Last year on the Yankees, to choose a random example, Giancarlo Stanton earned approximately $25.5 million more than Ben Heller.
That is quite a disparity inside a single workplace. Players who make closer to the minimum are sometimes known to grumble that the union better serves the well-paid stars.
It hardly matters whether that view is paranoia or reality-based. What's indisputable is the existence of a class divide inside every team.The owners see it, and on Tuesday made an offer that will exacerbate it.
MLB is asking top earners like Stanton, Gerrit Cole, Mookie Betts et. al. to accept what would be roughly a 20-30 percent pay cut to their already prorated salary, according to sources. Players earning the minimum would take home nearly all of their prorated salary. That essentially puts the onus on a Stanton to tell a Heller that he can't have his money.
The union is not pleased. A quick survey of agents makes clear that this initial proposal will not fly. It remains our expectation, based on months of reporting, that the sides will strike a deal of some kind and begin the season.
Many agents recognize that some pay cuts are inevitable. Some continue to resist that idea, expressing skepticism that owners would really cancel the entire season over the issue. Perhaps the sides can live with a more modest cut.
It's clear that the players cannot abide MLB's initial proposal. Days of difficult negotiations lie ahead.