By Joseph Sciancalepore
Major League Baseball (MLB), and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) reached an agreement for a potential shortened season, as well as regarding financial concerns, on March 27. This agreement by the MLB and MLBPA is in response to the possibility of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the 2020 season longer than people expected.
In the ESPN article by Jeff Passan and Kiley McDaniel, one of the many important details coming out of this agreement is what the league will do if they have to cancel the season. The league and its 30 teams owe their players $170 million, and it was agreed that the players will receive that money if there are no games played in 2020.
On the other hand, if, for example, the season is shortened to a 81-game schedule, which is half of a regular season, the player’s salaries will be prorated to 50% of their agreed-upon salary. Also, any performance-based bonuses will be prorated if there is a shortened season, according to ESPN.
Another detail was how service time will be assessed if there are no games played this year. Service time for an MLB player helps them in free agency and eligibility for arbitration. They agreed that players who logged a full year of service in 2019 will be given full service for 2020, ESPN reported.
Junior Mitch Kiernan discussed why this new agreement is good for the MLB, and why the MLB has been different than other leagues.
“It’s great that the MLB is still compensating the players,” said Kiernan. “Especially the minor leaguers since they get paid less, and already have a tough time living.”
According to Passan and McDaniel, the MLB and MLBPA agreed that players that have the same salary, no matter if they play in the major or minor league will get paid $5,000 a day in April and May. Younger players on major league teams, who would get paid less if they play in the minors, will get $1,000 a day. Rookies and prospects that earn more in the minors will receive $500 and $275 a day, respectively.
Finally, the luxury tax situation was also discussed in the agreement, with each team’s taxes paid on a prorated basis depending on how long the season will be. If there is no season, no teams will need to pay taxes, which allows each team luxury tax to reset for the 2021 season, according to ESPN.
Junior Jake Sussman discussed why the MLB is not handling the luxury tax situation correctly and how it affects small and big market teams.
“With the idea of salary tax resetting if the season cancelled isn’t fair. Small-market teams that don’t have as much money as big-market teams let talent go because of fear of the luxury tax,” Sussman said. “So, letting them keep their loaded team above the salary cap with no penalty isn’t fair.”