Scott Boras does not want Major League Baseball players to take further pay cuts in order to bail out the league's owners. The notorious super-agent sent a memo to his clients on Wednesday that laid out why they shouldn't budge on their salaries.
In March, MLB owners agreed to pay the players prorated salaries aligned with how many games were played. Instead of being paid their entire salaries for the year, they would instead be paid at the same rate as their contracts, but on a per-game basis. Both sides found that agreement equitable then. Now the owners want to tear it up and reduce player salaries dramatically this year.
Boras emphasized that games could not go on without the players:
""Remember, games cannot be played without you. Players should not agree to further pay cuts to 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.""
""Owners are asking for more salary cuts to bail them out of the investment decisions they have made. 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. 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.""
And his final blow:
""Owners now want players to take additional pay cuts to help them pay these loans. They want a bailout. 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. These billionaires want the money for free. No bank would do that. Banks demand loans be repaid with interest. Players should be entitled to the same respect.""
I'm not a fan of Scott Boras, but he's right. The players shouldn't have to pay for the financial decisions of the owners. When MLB was scoring record profits over the past decade, the owners didn't cut the players in or give them bonuses. In fact, payrolls and the league's average salary have been decreasing instead of increasing despite that revenue explosion.
The latest proposal from the owners would cause some players to make roughly 20 percent of their contracted salary. That's utterly absurd. Max Scherzer agrees with me. It's also worth noting that the owners won't open up the books and provide evidence of the kind of financial stress they claim they are under. As of now, we're just taking their word for it.
If the owners truly want baseball to happen this season they're going to have to bite the bullet and suffer a bit financially. They can't expect the players to bear the brunt of this.