MLB tells players they were never entitled to payment during covid-19 pandemic

Major League Baseball’s return-to-play proposal on Friday was accompanied by a scathing five-page letter that called into question the union’s bargaining tactics, according to a copy obtained by Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic.

The letter, written by deputy commissioner Dan Halem and addressed to union rep Bruce Meyer, details the league’s frustrations with the MLBPA throughout their three months of negotiations.

“I must have misinterpreted your June 6th letter,” Halem says to open the letter under a subheading labeled, “Resolution of Dispute.”

“I thought the letter reflected a willingness on the part of the Association to discuss in good faith the economics necessary for the Office of the Commissioner to waive its right under the March Agreement to resume the 2020 season only when there are, among other things, no restrictions on fan access. After reviewing the Association’s counterproposal, I stand corrected.”

Halem says the league takes exception to “the Association’s rhetoric that players ‘remain opposed to any further pay cuts,'” adding that players were never entitled to be paid at all after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency, which gives commissioner Rob Manfred the right to suspend all contracts.

After months of negotiations, Meyer said last week that the union was “disappointed” with the league’s “cynical tactic(s) of depriving America of baseball games.” The league has continued to offer variations of prorated salaries over different season lengths while players continue to demand full prorated pay.

The remainder of the league’s proposal outlines a plan for a 72-game season that would reportedly pay players 70% of their prorated pay and 80% if the postseason is played. The union has been given until Sunday to respond, though notable players already took to Twitter to indicate that the proposal will likely be rejected.

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