Since the dawn of the new COVID-19 era, an MLB Civil War has been known to be imminent. This war is not only between the owners and the players but also between Commissioner Robert Manfred. A strike is upon us and could last till 2023. Why is this threat coming?
MLB Civil War: Service Time Manipulation and Arbitration
It only takes two to three weeks of not adding a player to the roster to seriously change the service time of a player’s contract. This has been a move for owners that highly favors them on a contract due to lengthening a contract with no extra cost to them.
The biggest instance, in this case, is Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs. In 2014, he was electrifying the minor league circuit and then was signed to a major league contract the following year. In 2016 General Manager Jed Hoyer didn’t call Bryant up until April 17th. This added on an extra service year to his contract before he can become a free agent, due to not playing a full year on the roster.
Another example of service time manipulation is the case with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. In 2015, the Toronto Bluejays were expecting him in the minors for a couple of weeks even though he was ready. He ended up getting injured so the Blue Jays got lucky in holding him back. The leverage is out of the players’ hands when this happens although Kris Bryant got the shaft, holding him back.
This method of manipulation causes the arbitration process a nightmare for the player especially Kris Bryant. When he was eligible for arbitration, the arbitrators saw that he was one day shy of a full season which delayed his arbitration by a year. Now Bryant can’t get full market value. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s injury saved him from this arbitration mess.
Service time manipulation will be more prevalent if this doesn’t get called out in the CBAs. This needs to end for the players to get their fair market value and the arbitration won’t have to always side with the organization.
MLB Civil War: Players Wanting an Increase in Revenue Sharing
With a regular 162-game season and fans are in the seats, this adds to extra team revenue. Fans spend money on tickets, spend money on jerseys, and spend money on concessions. The organization makes hundreds of millions of dollars in extra revenue. A team that plays in the post-season sees even more than a billion in extra revenue. The players want to see revenue sharing spread out to the players.
This actually happened in 2020 when negotiations were surrounded by a COVID-19 shortened season. The players took a prorated salary in exchange for a bigger cut of the post-season revenue. Teams that did not make the postseason received a share of the postseason revenues, because of of the fact that that organization didn’t make any money at all due to no fans in the seats.
If MLB did revenue sharing before than, the players will want this to happen again. All the players really want is a five to ten percent increase in revenue sharing spread around to all the players even when the MLB goes back to 162 games in a season.
MLB Civil War: Conclusion
To avoid an MLB Civil War Rob Manfred will have to find peace between the players and owners soon. The players want the service time manipulation to stop. They want scary arbitration tactics to seize. The last thing that will help avoid a long-lasting strike would be giving players a five to ten percent increase in revenue sharing. These three factors will avoid an MLB Civil War.
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