Sunday, December 3

How much money Astros stars could lose per day if lockout continues

Major League Baseball owners set Monday as a deadline to reach a deal with the players’ association on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in order to save opening day on March 31 and for a normal 162-game regular season to remain intact. Players have waved off the owners’ deadline as an idle threat and pointed out that it was the owners who locked them out on Dec. 2 and then went six weeks before meeting with them again.

Whether it’s a hard deadline or not, a shortened season would certainly hit players right in the bank account.

A Major League Baseball regular season is 186 days long and players get their annual salary paid out based on that calendar. So, each day the season is shortened due to stalled CBA negotiations could cost players 1/186th of their salary, unless the owners agree to make the players whole once a deal is reached.

If not, that means someone like Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, who is scheduled to make $26 million this season, would lose $139,785 per day missed. Justin Verlander, who signed a two-year, $50 million with the Astros in November, would miss out on $134,409 per day.

As the Associated Press pointed out, the Mets’ Max Scherzer stands to lose nearly $233,000 a day, while the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole would miss out on about $193,000 daily.

It’s estimated that, in total, players will lose about $20 million a day in salaries if the season is shortened. ESPN’s Jeff Passan wrote Monday the players are willing to make that sacrifice because they “believe a bad agreement – one that attempts to further neuter their power – could do even more damage.”

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Of course, cutting games out of the 162-game schedule also will affect owners as that’s fewer games at the gate, not to mention the potential ill will fans could carry toward the sport for years to come.

The lockout hurts Astros free agent shortstop Carlos Correa even more. As a free agent, Correa isn’t allowed to negotiate with teams until a deal is reached. That not only could force him into a rushed decision once the lockout ends, but could cost him nearly $200,000 per day. If Correa gets the $34.1 million annual salary that the Mets gave their shortstop Francisco Lindor, that would mean $183,333 per day missed.

The owners and players are far apart, but they continue to meet in an effort to save a full 162-game season. Both sides met until late Sunday in Florida and were back at it early Monday.

The biggest hurdles are: Changes to the minimum salary, amount of a pre-arbirtration bonus pool and the threshold for a competitive balance tax. The players want the minimum salary to start at $775,000, while the owners’ latest proposal is at $650,000. The pre-arbitration pool is a new idea that both sides agree on, in which players who perform well before they hit arbitration can be awarded bonuses. The players proposed a pool of $115 million, while the owners’ proposal has it at just $20 million. The players have proposed a $245 million competitive balance tax with the owners countering at $214 million.

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