Nationals’ Max Scherzer: Players aren’t budging on salary reductions, won’t accept another pay cut

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Washington Nationals star Max Scherzer became the latest major athlete in the sport to dismiss Major League Baseball’s reported economic plan of a sliding scale salary to start the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season.

The World Series champion pitcher, a member of the MLB Players Association’s executive subcommittee, tweeted Wednesday that players are not going to take a pay cut beyond the prorated salaries they already agreed to when the league shut down during spring training.

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“After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions,” Scherzer wrote. “We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received.

“I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.”

Rather than the 50-50 revenue-sharing plan that owners initially approved for their negotiators earlier this month, the league reportedly proposed a sliding-scale that would cut salaries for some of the players making the most money.

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The proposal offers lower-salaried players a higher percentage of their expected wages while the biggest money-makers take a cut of their salaries, according to the Associated Press. A rookie at the league minimum would keep about 47 percent of his original salary while players like Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole would lose more than 77 percent.

A player would reportedly keep 90 percent of his salary up to the $563,500 league minimum, including those with lower salaries while on optional or outright assignments. The amount would decrease to 72.5 percent from $563,501 through $1 million to 50 percent from 1,000,001 through $5 million, to 40 percent from $5,000,001 through $10 million, to 30 percent from $10,000,001 through $20 million and to 20 percent from $20,000,001 and up.

Each player’s number then would be prorated by the 82/162 formula agreed to in March, causing a 49.4 percent loss, according to the Associated Press. There would also be an additional $200 million in postseason bonus money that would be given in a higher proportion to players with larger salaries.

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The players and the league had already agreed to a deal guaranteeing a $170 million lump-sum payment and service time if the pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 season and prorated pay if the league could start playing again, according to the New York Post.

The agreement also allowed for possible reconsideration of the agreement if the pandemic prevented fans from attending the ballparks.

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The union plans to counter the league’s offer by the end of the week with a plan that includes 100 games, instead of 82, and a guarantee of full prorated salaries, ESPN reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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