Boomer Esiason: MLB Owners Are Trying to Divide and Conquer


The prospect of a 2020 MLB season continues to look bleak as the players and owners are still not seeing eye-to-eye on the financial issues facing a baseball season.

On Tuesday, the owners approved a proposal that would pay players based on a sliding scale rather a 50-50 revenue split, as was originally discussed, but the new proposal is also not sitting well with the players.

WFAN’s “Boomer and Gio” discussed the latest developments on Wednesday morning, with Boomer pointing toward the owners executing a “divide and conquer” strategy.

“Rob Manfred is a labor lawyer. That’s why he is the commissioner and the commissioner before him he was the righthand man. He knows how to handle all these things. He’s no dummy. He knows what’s going on,” Boomer said. “What they’re doing is they are trying to divide and conquer. Telling the lesser players, who make less amount of money, you’re going to receive almost all your prorated money and guys like Gerrit Cole and Bryce Harper will have to take significantly less.

“If you went to Gerrit Cole, whose been busting his ass his entire career to get the contract he got with the Yankees – you have a choice as we sit here today: make $9 million for 82 games or no money at all if there are no games.”

Part of the players’ anger is that they agreed to a deal in March that would pay them a pro-rated salary, and were given a $170 million advance to divide amongst themselves for the first two months, which expires on Sunday.

Yet, the owners continue to win the court of public opinion, and Boomer believes it is because the owners do not speak publicly. They let Manfred speak for them and show reporters the economic realities of the season.

Gio added that it’s easier to put a face on the players, which is why fans are more critical of them.

“It’s easier for us to understand … you’re telling me you’re not going to go to work to play a game we would all kill to play for $8 million instead of $36 million?” Gio said. “It’s easier for the sports fan to process that and equate it to other things: think about the healthcare workers who don’t have a choice … where it’s harder for us to digest the owners side of things. We can put a face to a lot of these players. We can also put a face and an opinion, in a lot of cases, to these players because guys like Mike Trout have come out and said things; guys Noah Syndergaard and the infamous Blake Snell video that has really gotten everybody riled up.

“…There’s still a good enough amount of people out there that think the owners are horrible for coming after the players’ salaries for the way that they are. I’m with you [Boomer>, I think most people feel like it’s up to the players to play or not, and they are the ones who are greedy if they don’t.”