MLB reaches deal on pay structure with umpires during pandemic


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Major League Baseball and its umpires have reached a deal to cover a 2020 pay structure during the coronavirus pandemic, the MLB Umpires Association announced Friday.

The umps will be paid a pro-rated share of their salaries based on games worked over a 182-day season, a source confirmed to ESPN. Umpires have already been paid from January through April and will be paid at a 50% rate in May, according to the AP, which first reported on details of the agreed-upon pay structure for 2020.

If even one regular-season game is played this season, the umps are guaranteed about one-third of their salaries. Umpires generally make between $150,000 and $450,000 a year.

“The agreement reduces umpires’ salary and per diem amounts, but provides umpires and their families with financial security, as well as continuing retirement and benefit coverage, regardless of whether there’s a season,” the MLBUA said in a statement. “The agreement also provides umpires a seat at the table when critical health and safety issues are being addressed as Major League Baseball plans to resume play. In exchange, the agreement provides operational flexibility to Major League Baseball as it works with the Players Association toward bringing live baseball back to the fans in 2020.”

As part of the deal, MLB has the right not to use instant replays of umpires’ decisions during the 2020 season. Most calls have been subject to video review since 2014, but MLB is considering playing regular-season games at spring training ballparks that are not wired for replay.

“We are pleased we reached this agreement with the Commissioner’s office,” MLBUA president Bill Miller said in a statement. “We love the great game of baseball. We look forward to being part of bringing it back to the fans as America and the world recover.

“We also recognize that many people, including many baseball fans, are experiencing great economic hardship now. Our membership appreciates the opportunity to return to our jobs when it’s time to play ball.”

The start of the MLB season has been postponed because of the virus outbreak, and there is no timetable for Opening Day.

In December, the umpires and MLB reached a deal that will run through the 2024 season. As part of that agreement, umps agreed to cooperate with MLB in the development and testing of an automated ball-strike system.

ESPN’s Pedro Gomez and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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