The players made the owners another offer last night.

There are a lot of moving parts in this negotiation. It can be hard to get your brain around what’s good for what side in each offer. It’s made even more complicated when, immediately after every offer everyone is spinning, with the side making the offer calling it reasonable and the side receiving it calling it laughable. Against that backdrop, it’s tempting to say that both sides are awful and neither side is acting in good faith.

That’s wrong, though. It’s very clear in this instance that only one side is trying to work toward an agreement while the other side is not. It’s very clear that the owners are negotiating in bad faith and that the players are attempting to compromise. It’s pretty simple to illustrate this:

The players are moving toward the owners in their offers. The owners’ offers — and their reported fallback option of simply imposing a 48-game season at prorated pay — may look slightly different because of the number of games or the specific details, but they are all calculated to get them to basically the same place: where, in the aggregate, they save about a billion dollars in salary over what was agreed to in March. And, of course, the owners are offering less baseball in every proposal.

In light of that, the negotiation looks a lot like this:

Owners: “We will give you 40 cents on the dollar.”

Players: “We would like 60 cents on the dollar.”

Owners: “No, but how about this, we will give you a quarter, a nickel, and a dime on the dollar.”

Players: “We’ll take 55 cents on the dollar.”

Owners: “No, but how about we give you three dimes and ten pennies on the dollar.”

Players: “We’ll take 50 cents on the dollar.”

Owners:

The owners don’t consider the union’s proposal to be moving the ball even a little. “They are not trying,” one person on the management side tells me.

— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) June 10, 2020

The owners proposals have not increased the amount of money they’d pay out. Not once. In fact, it’s even moving backwards. The players moves have reduced payout in each offer. Who isn’t moving? And why, given this dynamic, should the players even continue to engage the owners? How are they not, at this point, bidding against themselves?

 

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