Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.
Mark Teixeira, a former MLB first baseman who made more than $217 million in his career, encouraged current players to take less money in order to start the 2020 season.
MLB owners’ proposal to start the season reportedly include asking players to agree to a 50-50 revenue split. Should the players agree to the reported plan, spring training might start in June and the first pitch of the regular season may come on Fourth of July weekend.
“Players need to understand that if they turn this deal down and shut the sport down, they’re not making a cent,” Teixeira said on ESPN Radio. “I would rather make pennies on the dollar and give hope to people and play baseball than not make anything and lose an entire year off their career.”
The players already agreed to a deal in March that would give them prorated salaries based on how many games are playing in 2020. MLB Players Association executive Tony Clark accused the league in an interview with The Athletic of trying to initiate a salary cap.
“A system that restricts player pay based on revenues is a salary cap, period,” Clark said. “This is not the first salary cap proposal our union has received. It probably won’t be the last. That the league is trying to take advantage of a global health crisis to get what they’ve failed to achieve in the past — and to anonymously negotiate through the media for the last several days — suggests they know exactly how this will be received. None of this is beneficial to the process of finding a way for us to safely get back on the field and resume the 2020 season — which continues to be our sole focus.”
Teixeira disagreed with Clark’s notion.
“The problem is that you have people all over the world taking pay cuts, losing their jobs, losing their lives, frontline workers putting their lives at risk,” he said. “These are unprecedented times. This is the one time that I would advocate for the players accepting a deal like this, a 50-50 split of revenues. It’s not that crazy. If you really think about it and boil it down to what the players usually get from a revenue standpoint, it’s actually lower than 50 percent of the baseball revenue for a full season. So, if I’m a player, I don’t like it. But I’m going to do whatever I have to do to play and that means taking this deal.”
Major League Baseball did not include an economic proposal during its first round of meetings with the players’ union on terms to start the season.
Baseball’s reported plan would cut the expenses of teams worried about playing in ballparks without fans due to the pandemic. The union, however, views revenue sharing as a salary which has said it would never agree to.
The average MLB salary if the season started on time is $4.4 million.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.