REPORT: MLB Owners Reject Players’ Proposal, Won’t Make a New Counterproposal (UPDATES) – bleachernation.com

I find that the best way to engage in good faith negotiations is to reject offers from the other side out of hand, and then not even make a counterproposal. It just screams “we really want to work together to get this done!”

My sarcasm and anger should be dripping through.

Here’s the f***ing latest:

MLB rejected the union’s proposal for a 114-game season and said it would not send a counter, sources tell The Athletic. The league said it has started talks with owners about playing a shorter season without fans, and that it is ready to discuss additional ideas with the union.

— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 3, 2020

You will recall, the owners made an official proposal for an 82-game season with sliding scale pay cuts for players, cutting down from their prorated pay. It was an overly aggressive proposal. The players responded with an overly aggressive proposal of their own, seeking full prorated pay over a 114-game season. There were reports that the owners were open to the prorated part, but not the 114-game part.

… so a reasonable response should have been a counterproposal that took issue with length. Or even better, a gd mediation session to bring the sides closer, since they’d theoretically set their outer bargaining positions.

But instead, what this report looks like is the owners saying, “Nope. Your idea is bad. What else you got?”

In other words, it would appear that MLB is resting on its previous proposal – the sliding scale pay cuts – instead of just negotiating off of the players’ proposal. They are asking the players to, you know, go ahead and negotiate against themselves a little more. Or, if not that, the league might hold to their threat that the interim March agreement allows them to set whatever length of season they want, even as short as under 50 games – a length that could very likely cause a labor shutdown. In the middle of a pandemic. When health and medical officials were permitting you to return.

I’ll fill this out as more details become available, and I’m sure I’m reacting overly angrily to a situation where there’s more context, but I am angry. This league – which just watched the NBA finalize its plans for a return – is too busy kicking each other in the dick through the media to actually get to a place where they can do what’s right for the sport, what’s right for the players, what’s right for the fans, and what is right for the long-term best interests of everyone involved.

IT IS JUNE 3.

UPDATE: Sure enough, sounds like the plan is to dare the players to strike IN THE MIDDLE OF A GD PANDEMIC:

MLB has rejected the union’s 114-game regular season proposal. They plan no counter. They are sititng on essentially implementing a 48-54-game season for full prorated salaries or 82-ish at less than prorated, sources tell The Post

— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) June 3, 2020

UPDATE 2: I have a pretty good read on fans, and more than ever, I’m telling you, this is a situation where it will NOT be the players who are primarily blamed for tanking a season over money during a pandemic:

I have heard greater pessismism today from folks on both sides about MLB launching a season than at any point. People who previously thought the sides would find a way, now expressing at least greater doubt (often more than that).

— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) June 3, 2020

UPDATE 3: More context on the original report from Ken Rosenthal:

Sides deadlocked after MLB rejects latest Players Association proposal. All the latest details and context, with @EvanDrellich: https://t.co/YXOsk9Tt3n

— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 3, 2020

The full report makes plain that we pretty much have our arms around this thing: the owners pretty much only want to pay out about 1/3 of the players’ salaries, whether that’s in full proration (50 games) or sliding scale salary cuts (82 games). They believe the March agreement gives them the unilateral right to declare the length of the season, so long as they pay full prorated salaries for those games. Whether that’s correct or not – any lawyer worth his salt can make a good argument that a contract doesn’t say what you think it does – such a unilateral decision would not cover health and safety (so the players could use that as leverage), would not cover any added revenue opportunities, and would not cover an expanded postseason. Since the league has to work with TV partners on the postseason, the players definitely do have some leverage here.

Also, as I’ve said: that kind of unilateral move by the owners is an obvious dare to the players that they would not strike. How can it even have gotten to that point? In this moment, when the risk of shutting down in a decade of damage to the sport, and the opportunity of not shutting it down is being the first major team sport back?

UPDATE 4: It sure seems like the sides should just be, you know, negotiating on the numbers?

There’s more pessimism today w/rejection of union offer, but smart folks still believe things will be worked out. While it hasn’t been offered, belief here is players might do 82 games at full pay. And owners would come up from 40% paycut offered. Would 20% cut and 90 games work?

— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 3, 2020

What Heyman describes there is what I wrote about yesterday – bracketing. You’re super far apart, but you know each others’ outside bounds. So you agree to come up X amount *if* I agree to come down Y amount. Shrink the gap in a way that you both win. Then at least, at the next step, you’re closer.

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