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Wednesday Bird Droppings: Where MLB and the Players Association are far apart on a deal

The two sides hope to have a plan in place by next month, but are currently at a stalemate.

Tony Clark, executive director of Major League Baseball Photo by Alejandra Villa Loarca/Newsday RM via Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

There’s good news and bad news. The good news is MLB and the MLBPA are actively in discussions on how to put on a season of some kind in 2020. The bad news is that there is a massive gulf between the two sides in terms of negotiations. ESPN’s Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers had all of the details on the talks yesterday afternoon.

MLB’s proposal includes a plan to play an 82-game regular season, which would start in early July and wrap up on September 27. That seems all well and good, although it is said players want to have a slightly longer campaign, but that feels like a point that the two sides could figure out easily enough.

The big issue right now is player salaries. In March, MLB and the MLBPA seemed to have come to an agreement that if the season was shortened due to this pandemic then the players would receive a prorated amount of their salary. So, in an 82-game proposal, every player should get about 50% of what their contract says they are owed. Welp, the owners are going back on that agreement.

This latest offer would give all players making $1 million or less just 72.5% of their prorated salary. Players between $1 million and $5 million get 50%, $5 million to $10 million get 40%, $10 million to $20 million get 30% and anyone over $20 million gets 20%.

There are other details, like postseason bonuses, that can earn the players more money, but it is still going to be a fraction of what they expected to get coming into the talks.

The United States is experiencing historic levels of unemployment, and I would understand those that do not want to hear rich athletes bicker with wealthy team owners over money like this. That said, this initial offer from MLB seems pretty terrible. At this point, the players don’t appear to be asking for every penny that was promised in their contracts. There won’t be enough games to make that happen. But they do want a deal that is fair and worth risking injury. Back to the drawing board.

Links & Notes

MLB has about a week to save the 2020 season - Steve Melewski
There is a soft deadline of June 1st for the two sides to come to an agreement. It’s unclear just how soft that deadline really is.

Adjustment in Castro’s delivery monitored from long distance - School of Roch
It would be really cool if Miguel Castro could put everything together and take that next step forward as a reliever. He has the tools to be a high-leverage arm, but he doesn’t miss enough bats.

Former Orioles pitcher and U.Va. grad talks life in KBO during coronavirus -
Tyler Wilson hasn’t pitched for the Orioles since 2017, but we still back (most) guys that once donned the black and orange. It has been a tough start to his third season in KBO, where he has allowed 11 earned runs in just 23.1 innings of work. He posted an ERA of 2.92 in 30 starts in 2019, so he has high expectations.

Adam Jones Expected to Play Soon in Japan - Birds Watcher
More news from abroad! The Nippon Professional Baseball season is starting on June 19, and Adam Jones will be taking the field with his new club, the Orix Buffaloes. It would be neat to see some of these games on TV the way that KBO games have been made available.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

Just one former Oriole celebrates today. Miguel Gonzalez, a surprisingly solid right-handed pitcher that became a rotation fixture with the O’s from 2012 through 2015, turns 36 today. Over those four seasons, Gonzalez had a 3.82 ERA, 107 ERA+ and tossed 580.1 innings.

1960 - In an effort to corral the pitches of knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm, Orioles catcher Clint Courtney uses a mitt that is about 50% larger than normal. The glove was designed by the team’s skipper, Paul Richards. Courtney doesn’t drop any pitches in the game, but the mitt is later banned.