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Sara’s Diary, Day 89 without baseball: Math

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MLB is not counter-offering anything, they just keep repackaging the same offer different ways

2019 Major League Baseball Winter Meetings
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred speaks at Winter Meetings
Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

One of the most frustrating parts of watching MLB and the MLBPA go back and forth during their negotiations regarding the parameters for the 2020 baseball season is watching writer after writer characterize the MLB/Owner position as new offers.

This is the exact same offer packaged three different ways. If anything, the offer keeps getting worse, not better:

These aren’t serious offers, and as much as I want baseball back (I mean, seriously, we’ll be at Day 90 of this Diary tomorrow — do y’all have any idea how much I’d rather write about Willson Contreras?) I think we are all doing a disservice to the game we love if we let the Owners’ stall tactics and obfuscation count as good faith negotiating. Craig Edwards at Fangraphs has a great in-depth write up of this and I encourage you to read the whole thing, but I wanted to try a different tact today.

Imagine the following conversation with your boss:

Boss: Sara, we have to close up shop for a bit, but when we come back I will still pay you the same rate, just not for the indefinite time we are closed.

Sara: I understand, stay healthy and safe, looking forward to getting back to work when I can.

Boss (2 months later): Sara, we have a plan to get you back to work, but unfortunately it looks like the parameters are so dangerous we aren’t going to be able to have as many people enjoy your work in person. So I’d like you to do the same work, in those dangerous conditions, and take an additional cut in pay so you are only making about one-third of what we agreed on originally.

Sara: Whoa there, I thought we already had an agreement that you’d pay me what you agreed I was worth at the start of the contract, but for less time. It seems sort of weird you want me to work in a more dangerous environment and pay me less...but how about I do some more work (40 percent more) so you get more revenue and you pay me what we agreed to?

Boss: All right, you didn’t like my plan to slash your pay, so we are going to work WAY less so that I only pay you one-third of what I agreed originally but it will still be fully prorated, Deal?

Sara: No deal, that sounds like you just want to pay me one-third of what I’m worth and are shifting the specifics to do that. I offered to work more already, what if I also offer to let you pay me in the future for the work I’m doing now, but you pay me what we both agreed I was worth before?

Boss - Okay, here’s my final offer. We are going to both work less and I am going to pay you less so that you make one-third of what I originally told you I’d pay you.

Only one side is really negotiating here: the players. I wouldn’t take that deal and players shouldn’t either. They shouldn’t take that deal when they are being asked to do more dangerous work in a pandemic and they CERTAINLY shouldn’t take that deal 18 months before they have to negotiate their next long-term collective bargaining agreement.

Owners are hoping fans will get so tired of this back and forth that their desperation for baseball will turn them against the players just in time to negotiate a sweetheart deal when the CBA expires in 2021. That plan relies on disgusting the people who love this game. People like you and I, reading this blog in a time with no baseball. Don’t fall for the divisive tactics, stand with the players who deserve better than this sham masquerading as a negotiation.