Alex Rodriguez on Friday implored MLB owners and players to "step up to the plate together" to salvage the 2020 season — a nice sentiment, even if his pitch made him sound more like a potential owner than former player.
Rodriguez said players should be willing to accept a 50-50 revenue split with owners in their shared goal "to save baseball" in an unprecedented situation. This, after they had agreed in March to be paid pro rata for an 82-game season, roughly having their annual salaries.
It’s time for owners and players to step up to the plate ... together.
This is a huge opportunity for the game of baseball to take a huge leap forward and show leadership. We are in unprecedented times. pic.twitter.com/F8iMqTVyby
— Alex Rodriguez (@AROD) May 16, 2020
"It is the people's comfort food and people are starving," Rodriguez said. "And I just don't want to see this great game, people fighting, billionaires fighting with millionaires. This has nothing to do with the past. This has nothing to do with the strike. This is actually when the owners and players are aligned and we want the same thing. We want to save baseball. We want to play baseball.
"Players want to play. Fans want to watch. And at the end of the day, if you don't play today, you don't win tomorrow, because hopefully we don't have another situation like this. This is like beyond anything we've ever seen before. I just urge the players and owners to think collectively. If there's $100 in the pie, like the NBA, players take $50, owners take $50. And we give it to the fans. We thank the fans of baseball."
The key difference between the NBA and MLB, however, is the lack of a salary cap in the latter. And it's understandable players — such as Rays pitcher Blake Snell — would be hesitant to agree to a revenue split that the MLBPA essentially equates to a salary cap. Owners, despite agreeing to pay players a prorated rate, approached them with the 50-50 pitch amid fears of revenue loss without fans in the stands.
For what it's worth, league commissioner Rob Manfred estimates a $4 billion loss for MLB owners if the 2020 season is not played.
It's also worth noting that Rodriguez — the highest-paid player in MLB history at $450 million in career earnings — likely would never have agreed to such a deal while he was still a player; he would never have come close to his total earnings if he did. The fact that he would ask players to accept such a deal suggests he's still trying to pursue ownership of an MLB team after his pursuit of the Mets fell through on May 7.
In that vein, it makes sense that A-Rod would aim to put a revenue deal in place that continues to maximize his potential earnings — this time, as an owner.