Major league baseball owners, perhaps preparing for unilateral implementation of their salary-cap proposal, are making significant revisions, including removal of the $1-billion-a-year salary guarantee for the players, a management lawyer said Saturday.
The removal of any salary guarantee, the lawyer said, was a response to the more than $500 million that the clubs have lost since start of the player strike on Aug. 12. The proposal, first presented to the players on June 14 and unchanged until now, still contains the cap, elimination of salary arbitration and major modifications in free agency, the lawyer said.
However, in addition to removal of the salary guarantee, the proposal now establishes a salary scale for younger players starting at a rookie minimum of $115,000 and up to $500,000 for a fourth-year player, and eliminates the proposed 50-50 split of licensing revenue, allowing the union to keep whatever it generates.
The management lawyer insisted that the revisions are strictly part of the negotiating process, but others familiar with the situation said the owners are preparing to implement their last, best offer.