MLB owners sending latest plan to MLBPA that includes sliding pay scale for players

PHOENIX — Major League Baseball owners approved a plan Tuesday that will be sent to the Major League Baseball Players Association in the afternoon, formally opening negotiations on the key economic issues for the season to start by the weekend of July 4.

The plan, three persons with knowledge of the proposal told USA TODAY Sports, does not include the same 50-50 revenue-sharing split the owners agreed on two weeks ago that was never submitted to the union. The three people spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity since they were not authorized to speak publicly due to ongoing negotiations.

The proposal instead includes a sliding scale of compensation, with players earning the most taking the biggest cuts and those earning the least receiving most of their guaranteed salaries.

It remains uncertain how much money the players will be yielding in this proposal, based on no fans in attendance for an 82-game season, after already agreeing to be paid on a pro-rated basis, reducing their pay by almost 50%.

Yet revenue sharing was not referenced at all in the document that was prepared for the union.

The union was concerned that the revenue sharing would lead to the introduction of a salary cap in future negotiations, while wary of further pay reductions, including the possibility of a percentage of their salaries placed in escrow.

The owners insist they will lose money during the regular season without fans in attendance, but would be guaranteed $777 million in postseason TV revenue, which would be inflated to about $1 billion with the postseason format expanded to 14 teams instead of 10.

There’s no hard deadline for the negotiations to be completed, but the two sides would likely need to reach an agreement in seven to 10 days if the season can begin the first week of July.

Follow Nightengale on Twitter: @Bnightengale

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