By Arnie Leshin
Scott Boras has joined the game, with the agent informing his clients to not bail out the Major League Baseball owners.
Presently, the National Football League has already held its college draft and released its full season schedule for if and when its season kicks off, but MLB has other things to worry about, as in its attempt to cut salaries during negotiations with the player’s association, claiming team financial issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic have their origin management debt financing.
Back on March 26 there was an agreement between MLB and the union that called for players to reduce their salaries to a prorated rate based on a shortened season.On Tuesday, MLB proposed a series of tiered reductions that would cause top stars to receive the biggest cuts.
Enter Boras, one of baseball’s best-known agents who represents 71 players on active rosters and injured lists out as of Aug. 31, the most among representative firms.
“Remember,” he said to the players,”games can not be played without you. Players should not agree to further pay cuts that bail out the owners. Let owners take some of their record revenues and profits from the past several years and pay you the prorated salaries you agreed to accept or let them borrow against the asset values they created from the use of those profits players generated.”
Salaries were set to range from $563,500 for players at the major league minimum to $36 million for players like Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole, the latter a Boras client. Under the March agreement, the range would be cut to roughly $285,000 to $18 million for the 82-game regular season schedule MLB has proposed. Under the economic proposal made by MLB this week, the range would be reduced to about $262,000 to $8 million, including shares of a bonus all players would receive if the postseason is played.
“Owners are asking for more salary cuts to bail them out of the investment decisions they have made,” said Boras. “If this was just about baseball, playing games would give the owners enough money to pay the players their full prorated salaries and run the baseball organization.”
It’s said that the owners’ current problem is a result of the money they borrowed when they purchased their franchises, renovated their stadiums or developed land around their ballparks. This type of financing is allowed and encouraged by MLB because it has resulted in significant franchise valuations.
So owners now want players to take additional pay cuts to help them pay their loans or as Boras said “They want a bailout.”
He added that they are not offering players a share of the stadiums, ballpark villages or the club itself, even though salary reductions would help owners pay for these valuable franchise assets.
“Apparently”, said Boras, These billionaires want the money for free, and no bank would do that. Banks demand loans be repaid with interest, players should be entitled to the same respect.”
Of course, Boras is no dummy, he just wants to come to the aid of the players and perhaps sign up some more clients. But he does make his points here, and nevertheless the players can thank him for weighing in.