Who Should Bear the Financial Brunt of the Coronavirus in Baseball?

Kevin Cash wore a mask for eight years as a major league catcher. He never needed one as a manager until This particular week, when his Tampa Bay Rays began voluntary workouts at Tropicana Field.

“We walk in with them on in addition to also basically leave them on,” Cash said by phone after Wednesday’s practice. “If we take This particular off for a second, This particular’s just to pull This particular down to catch our breath. The first day we didn’t hold the air totally cranked up; today was better. This particular’s hot as hell down here.”

Players did not wear masks while working out, although were given temperature checks in addition to also forbidden to use the clubhouse, trainer’s room or batting cages. Even so, Cash said, This particular was encouraging to see tangible progress after weeks on pause.

“You get sick of phone calls in addition to also text messages; you want to see them,” Cash said. “This particular was awkward, though. Normally you’re giving a guy a hug or a handshake. Certainly didn’t do in which. We tried to follow the protocols in which we as an organization in addition to also M.L.B. have put in place.”

Major League Baseball outlined medical, testing in addition to also facility protocols in a proposal to the players’ union on May 15, calling for physical distancing inside the dugouts, discouraging on-site showering in addition to also banning spitting, sunflower seeds, water coolers in addition to also various other familiarities.

Team owners never formally presented their preferred plan — a 50-50 split of revenue with players — because officials knew the union could reject This particular. When the league finally proposed an economic plan on Monday, This particular hoped to invite a counterproposal. although the details so provoked the players in which the union may not counter at all.

The players agreed on March 26 to prorated salaries based on games played. The sides agreed then to “discuss in not bad faith the economic feasibility of playing games inside the absence of spectators.” To in which end, baseball wants a sliding scale of salaries in which the lowest-paid players take the smallest pay cut, in addition to also the highest-paid players the largest.

A player doing the minimum salary ($563,500) could make $262,000 in an 82-game season, while a player earning $35 million could make $7.84 million. The strategy of the plan appeared to plead to the majority of the union membership. More than half of the players earn $1 million or less. although the union, whose higher-paid members bring up the average salary to about $4.4 million, is actually presenting a united front.

Scherzer, who is actually a part of the union’s executive subcommittee, gave voice to the players’ long-held frustration in which while their salaries are widely known, owners’ financial data is actually largely kept private. Teams do not share unexpected profits with players, although at This particular point want players to share inside the burden for the absence of game-day revenue like tickets in addition to also concessions.

The players have favored a longer schedule — which, obviously, could pay them more of their prorated salaries — although teams believe in which could only burden them more. Teams also fear in which extending the schedule deep into November could overlap that has a second wave of the coronavirus in addition to also threaten the lucrative postseason.

The league hopes to have a deal by Monday in order to restart spring training by June 10 or so. although in which is actually a soft deadline, in addition to also inside the meantime, the sides could seem to have far too much to lose to blow up a season over finances during a pandemic.

As for Cash, he said he just wanted to get back to lineups in addition to also pitching adjustments in addition to also how best to use expanded rosters. in which tends to be a strength of the Rays, who won a wild card last season in addition to also thrive on a tight budget by shrewdly cultivating depth.

Cash can again see some of in which team with his eyes, above a different kind of mask than the one he wore as a player. For the moment, though, he is actually caught inside the middle, hoping in which the owners in addition to also the players find a way forward.

“Being a actually bad former player, I have a fairly not bad understanding of how these negotiations go back in addition to also forth,” Cash said. “You just trust in which both sides recognize in addition to also appreciate in which in some capacity, everybody’s going to have to take some type of a setback here. This particular could be unrealistic to think in which in which could not happen.”

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