In 1994 the final 50 games of the MLB season and the playoffs were canceled due to a strike led by Don Fehr and the MLBPA. The reason for this strike was that Owners wanted a salary cap just like the thriving NFL at the time. The players did not like the idea of a salary cap being implemented and went on strike and did not play. We are now in the year 2020 and are in the middle of pandemic from the Coronavirus and Owners want players to take pay cuts on their salaries. The MLBPA has expressed that they are not happy with this idea whatsoever.
The players that are most affected by this are the players in the MLB that have close to max contracts. All of your superstar players would have to take massive pay cuts because of the amount of revenue that is being lost this year because of the season being shortened and not being able to have fans at the games when the season starts back up. With the MLB’s newest proposal to the players about a pay cuts, the team’s highest paid player is expected to lose a lot of money. Phillies Outfielder Bryce Harper signed a 13-year contract for 330 million dollars in the fall of 2018. Harper makes about 27.5 Million dollars a year just from his MLB contract, and with this new proposal by the MLB, if accepted, Bryce Harper would go from making 27.5 Million dollars a season to 6.5 Million dollars this season. We are talking about someone losing 21 million dollars that Harper has already signed for and is supposed to be getting this season. These players need the money they signed for to keep living the lives that they have right now.
Another situation that is going on is that some minor league organizations are not paying their players. It is hard enough to see that MLB players have to take pay cuts for the season, but Minor league players are not being paid at all while the league is shut down due to the virus. Former Cy Young award winner and 7-time all-star David Price of the Los Angeles Dodgers is helping out with this situation by taking a portion of his salary (which has already been cut down due to pay cuts from the MLB) and giving it to minor league players that are not being paid by organizations.
If I were a player in the MLB, I would be very angry too. They have more expensive lives that they have to live and keep up with, and they cannot continue to do that if their salaries are being cut. Now, players do get opportunities with endorsements with companies and can make their money still from endorsements from businesses that are still advertising and selling. Bryce Harper makes an estimated income of 6.5 million dollars in endorsements which is more than any player in the MLB. With all of his endorsements and merchandise selling does not make up for the 21 million dollars he would lose this season if the new proposal is accepted.
From the business standpoint of things, this is something the MLB has to do to keep the money good in the league and keep business flowing. The MLB is losing a ton of money by not having fans be able to come to their games for an extended period of time while this pandemic is going on, and money from broadcasting companies because they have nothing for those broadcasts to air for them right now. If you take into account that each game fans are not in attendance, they lose 684 thousand dollars and there are 30 teams and 162 games. The MLB could possibly be losing up to 3.3 Billion dollars this season. Each team in the MLB would lose about 110 Million dollars this season by not having fans in attendance for games. Without fans in attendance, teams can’t make up their payroll that they have for players and could cause teams to go under by a lot.
As a fan of the league and the sport that I have loved and played all my life, I hope that the league and players can come to an agreement so there is not possible strike that could happen. It is hard enough for baseball fans to go 3 months so far without any baseball, let alone a whole year that could possibly happen. In times like this, we need America’s past time to remind us of the good things in our lives and to remind everyone that we will get through this.