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OC Register: White Sox special assistant blames players union for MLB impasse


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As a high-powered agent with a client list that included Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, Jose Canseco, George Brett and Bret Saberhagen in the ’80s and ’90s then as special assistant to Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf the past 20 years, Dennis Gilbert has seen both sides of negotiations.

There’s no mistaking which side he is on now.

“I never take positions like this,” said Gilbert, who started the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation, a non-profit organization which raises money for scouts who are dealing with health issues or financial difficulties.

“Normally, I just sit quietly in the background and let the union and the owners fight it out. But this complaining, ‘We’re not taking another (pay)cut.’ Well, this is the deal you made. Then they say, ‘We’re not negotiating.’ Well, the contract says you’re going to ‘negotiate in good faith.’ Screw you. That’s the deal.”

Gilbert’s frustration reached the boiling point this week with the reaction to MLB’s latest proposal to the players’ union for a shortened 2020 season played without fans (and the revenue they produce). According to multiple reports Monday, MLB’s owners have proposed a 76-game regular season with an expanded postseason. Under the plan, players would get up to 75 percent of their prorated salaries.

The compensation varies little from the owners’ previous proposal (for an 82-game regular season) though it weighs more heavily on postseason revenue and seems to move farther away from the union’s counterproposal for an 114-game season (and a postseason running into November) with fully pro-rated salaries.

The union has been asked to respond by Wednesday (with the specter of an MLB-imposed 48-game season looming over the discussions). The initial reaction from players on social media has not been positive.

Gilbert blames the leadership of the players’ union for misrepresenting to players the deal that was struck in March.

At the time, MLB’s owners contributed $170 million to players as a salary advance and agreed each individual player would receive a full year of major-league service time regardless of how many games are played in 2020. Gilbert thinks that was a big concession by owners but the players’ union — lead negotiator Bruce Meyer, in particular — is not acknowledging the full details of that agreement.

“I saw the deal. I am a baseball executive and I saw the deal,” Gilbert said. “I’ve talked to some agents. I’ve talked to some players. More agents than players. And it wasn’t communicated that if there weren’t fans in the stands they would have to renegotiate in good faith. They just said ‘pro rata (salaries).’

“I’ve read the agreement. I know exactly what it says.”

Gilbert said the agreement includes a key sentence — “The office of the commissioner and players association will discuss in good faith the economic feasibility of playing games in the absence of spectators or appropriate substitute neutral sites.” That allows the owners to come back to the players’ union now and renegotiate the salary terms, Gilbert believes.

“The real truth of the deal, I think, is that nobody on March 26 when they made this deal thought they wouldn’t be back by July 1 playing baseball,” he said. “So, because of that, now they want to change the deal. Baseball didn’t outsmart them. They gave them something they didn’t want to give them. They gave them the full year of service.”

Gilbert points out how valuable that is to players — a year closer to arbitration for young players, a year closer to free agency for others, another year added to pensions for all.

“And you’re acting like it’s no big deal when that was all you cared about during the spring?” he said.

Resolving that disagreement could be critical to getting baseball this summer. But Gilbert puts the onus entirely on the union to remind players of the concession made by owners in March.

“For me personally, I’m mad for me as a fan,” said Gilbert, a Dodgers season ticket-holder. “I’m unhappy because the White Sox were going to be competitive. I’m unhappy because I was hoping to see a World Series this year with the Dodgers — and an All-Star Game (at Dodger Stadium).

“You ask me what needs to be done? He (Meyer) has to educate his players — ‘This is the deal we made and where do we go from here?’ He can’t be telling them the owners are (taking advantage of) them. All that does is get everybody pissed off.”

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26 minutes ago, AngelsLakersFan said:

Go ahead and be mad at the players, that's fair, but they have simply asked the owners to open their books and show them exactly how much money they stand to lose without fans, and the owners have not been willing to. 

 

Simply? 

They know damn well that isn't going to happen. 

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1 minute ago, Lou said:

Simply? 

They know damn well that isn't going to happen. 

And the owners know damn well that players are never going to take a pay cut.

If one side is going to ask the other to do something they've never agreed to before then the other needs to reciprocate.

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9 minutes ago, AngelsLakersFan said:

And the owners know damn well that players are never going to take a pay cut.

If one side is going to ask the other to do something they've never agreed to before then the other needs to reciprocate.

I think the players take a pay cut.

The players have been trying to get owners to open their books for decades. It isn't going to happen. They'll cancel the season before they agree to do so. 

Also, the owners have already given the players something. They've advanced $170 million in salaries and have given a full year's service time regardless of how many games are played this year.

What have the players given?

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31 minutes ago, Lou said:

I think the players take a pay cut.

The players have been trying to get owners to open their books for decades. It isn't going to happen. They'll cancel the season before they agree to do so. 

Also, the owners have already given the players something. They've advanced $170 million in salaries and have given a full year's service time regardless of how many games are played this year.

What have the players given?

I don’t think the players take a pay cut... the owners arguments have not been compelling.

this is a good breakdown: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/a-look-at-the-gains-and-losses-by-team-of-a-season-without-fans/

tldr: the league as a whole makes money per game without players taking a pay cut, but the owners proposals allow every team to make a per game profit.

The players have given the owners permission to set revenue sharing between the clubs as they see fit for this season. They also agreed to a prorated salary as opposed to their entire previously negotiated salary.

There is no reason the owners couldn’t simply agree to defer salaries to players making above a certain amount. This allows them to roll the cost into the budgets for the next few seasons, where the owners we be able to recoup them if they want.

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Both sides look greedy, petty and horrible IMO. I guess more so now the players but both of them  have handled/are handling this about as bad as you can. With everything going on in the world, you'd think they would have been able to come to an agreement months ago. It's pretty pathetic IMO. People need a distraction and the best sport, in my view, should be a major one. Big F U to both sides.

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1 hour ago, AngelsLakersFan said:

Go ahead and be mad at the players, that's fair, but they have simply asked the owners to open their books and show them exactly how much money they stand to lose without fans, and the owners have not been willing to. 

 

No corporation opens their books to negotiate with their employees. 

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1 hour ago, Blarg said:

No corporation opens their books to negotiate with their employees. 

Well then the owners are gona have to find a way to convince the players that they are losing money when the back of the envelope estimates show they aren't. It's clearly a matter of trust between the two sides right now.

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4 hours ago, Lou said:

MLB players give me more reason to dislike them than any other sport.

I'll go a step further and say that professional athletes that use their stage to evangelize their political agendas or ideologies makes me dislike them as well. 

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14 minutes ago, Chuckster70 said:

I'll go a step further and say that professional athletes that use their stage to evangelize their political agendas or ideologies makes me dislike them as well. 

I’d also add actors, lead singers of bands, and sportscasters to that list also Chuck.

Everyone is coming out of the woodwork now.

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5 minutes ago, PattyD22 said:

I’d also add actors, lead singers of bands, and sportscasters to that list also Chuck.

Everyone is coming out of the woodwork now.

I agree @PattyD22. I got a bunch of celebs on my "won't watch" list after the past several months. 

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3 hours ago, AngelsLakersFan said:

Go ahead and be mad at the players, that's fair, but they have simply asked the owners to open their books and show them exactly how much money they stand to lose without fans, and the owners have not been willing to. 

 

That’s like asking you know who to show us his taxes. It’s not going to happen. 

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3 hours ago, AngelsLakersFan said:

Well then the owners are gona have to find a way to convince the players that they are losing money when the back of the envelope estimates show they aren't. It's clearly a matter of trust between the two sides right now.

Just where is it written employees get to absorb all profits? 

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