The Major League Baseball Players Association has an issue with the league's proposal to start the 2020 season.
Union officials told The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich that players won't sign off on MLB's proposal if salaries in 2020 come from 50% of revenues during the abbreviated season.
"A system that restricts player pay based on revenues is a salary cap, period," MLBPA executive director Tony Clark told Rosenthal and Drellich. "This is not the first salary cap proposal our union has received. It probably won’t be the last.
"That the league is trying to take advantage of a global health crisis to get what they’ve failed to achieve in the past - and to anonymously negotiate through the media for the last several days - suggests they know exactly how this will be received.
"None of this is beneficial to the process of finding a way for us to safely get back on the field and resume the 2020 season - which continues to be our sole focus."
Clark received support from noted super-agent Scott Boras, who told Sports Illustrated's Stephanie Apstein that he will urge the MLBPA to reject the union's proposal.
"The players I represent are unified in that they reached an agreement and they sacrificed anywhere from 30 to 40% of their salaries so that the games could amicably continue," Boras said. "The owners represented during that negotiation that they could operate without fans in the ballpark. Based on that, we reached an agreement and there will not be a renegotiation of that agreement."
However, MLB disputes the union's view that the proposal is a salary cap.
"We lose money on every single game (without fans)," a league official told Rosenthal and Drellich. "We have to propose that they take something less than they already negotiated. We thought the most persuasive way to make that proposal was to explain: 'Here's what we’re going to make in revenue and we'll split it with you, and here's how it turns into player salaries.'"
Owners ratified their proposal for a shortened 2020 season on Monday. That proposal reportedly includes a regular season of about 82 games and 30-man rosters with taxi squads for depth. It would also see television revenue split 50-50 between owners and players.
The league will officially present its proposal to the MLBPA on Tuesday.
MLB is the lone major North American sports league without some kind of salary cap.