The return of Major League Baseball was supposed to be a given a few weeks back, once players fel safe enough to return. But here we are at the end of May, and it appears quite possible we won't get baseball until 2021, and that's mostly due to the financial battle between the owners and the MLB Players Association.
On Tuesday, the league sent their salary proposal to the union, and it was met with universal anger and disgust. Instead of the rumored 50-50 revenue split, players would now make lower salaries, significantly less than what they were promised the first time these sides agreed on prorated salaries in March. These five players, in particular, would be royally screwed if this pay scale were to go into effect.
5. Stephen Strasburg
Stephen Strasburg was one of the key reasons why the Washington Nationals won the World Series this past season. Through six postseason games, Strasburg tallied a 5-0 record, 1.98 ERA, and 0.94 WHIP, leading him to the World Series MVP award. Once the Nationals were done celebrating, Strasburg opted out of his old contract and signed a massive seven-year, $245 million deal. The former first overall pick was deserving of his new contract, and now he's set to make less than $8 million? That's ludicrous.
4. Nolan Arenado
The disgruntled Colorado Rockies third baseman is about to be even more perturbed than normal. In his seven years in the league, Nolan Arenado has shown why he's the best at his position. He can mash homers at will in any ballpark, and he has elite fielding abilities at the hot corner. Arenado earned his eight-year, $260 million contract extension last year, and now he's going to make around $7.8 million in 2020 with postseason bonuses? If you thought Arenado was angry before...
3. Max Scherzer
The Washington Nationals are going to have to do a ton to keep their two aces happy if this pay suggestion is approved. Even after they signed Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer is still the highest-paid player on Washington. The team signed "Mad Max" to a record-setting seven-year, $210 million deal back in 2015, and it's safe to say he lived up to his end of the bargain. Scherzer won two NL Cy Young Awards and a World Series in his five years in DC. Even those accolades won't save him from making significantly less in 2020 than he deserves. Talk about a crime.
2. Gerrit Cole
Imagine just signing a record-breaking contract in free agency only to suffer an immediate 75% pay cut in your first season. That's Gerrit Cole's current conundrum. Cole had a Cy Young-caliber season with the Houston Astros last year, and immediately cashed in by signing a nine-year, $324 million contract with the New York Yankees during the MLB Winter Meetings. Instead of the $36 million salary he was promised in 2020, he'll make just $8 million. We wouldn't blame Cole if he just sat out for the upcoming season...if it even happens.
1. Mike Trout
The best player in Major League Baseball is going to be paid as much as a player at the bottom of the batting order. Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout has been an AL MVP candidate every single season he's played in, and he's on pace to be the greatest player in league history. The Angels paid Trout what he was owed in the form of a $426 million deal over 12 years. If the owners' wish were to come true, Trout would make between $8-9 million for the upcoming season, which is pretty insulting. It's unknown if Trout would play under this proposed pay structure (with a pregnant wife at home, he has plenty of other concerns), but we're sure he'd be unhappy about it if approved.