During a fundraising Zoom session on Thursday, Brian Cashman was asked if he believed owners and players will agree on compensation and if there will be a season this year.
“I don’t represent the players or the Players Association. There are a lot of hurdles everyone is trying to navigate and certainly finding common ground appropriately with the Players Association is one of them. The commissioner of baseball and his team are having honest, frank negotiations with that,” Cashman said while helping to raise money for Family Center’s Emergency Family Assistance Fund. “I am optimistic that where there is a will there is a way. We are all in this country trying to find a way to get up and running. We all have found ways to make adjustments. It is incumbent on all of us to find a way. I trust all leadership involved will find a way within our industry, just like everybody is trying to do in their respective industries as well. It doesn’t promise anything but am I optimistic? I am optimistic.”
Earlier this week the owners presented the union with a proposal and the early talks didn’t deal with the issue of how the players will get paid. The owners want to split the game’s revenue with the players in half because there will be no fans in the seats at least at the beginning of any season and maybe for the entire season. The players claim their salaries are pro-rated for an 82-game schedule.
Asked about players voicing concerns over safety issues, Cashman pointed out that during the initial talks between owners and the union, safety was high on the list.
“I know Major League Baseball has been working extremely hard to come up with the best practices. From my understanding the very first conversation didn’t involve economics. It involved how are we going to keep employees, from players to coaches to support staff and travel parties, etc. safe,” Cashman said. “How can we as an industry create a safe environment because that is the only way it is going to work. As we enter this new world we are dealing with you are seeing every day, people wearing masks. Each industry is trying to find a way to adjust in this COVID environment so we can move forward. We have to give everybody involved in that process the time to discuss it and work through it. Try to find comfort levels if they exist. If they aren’t able to, obviously they won’t be able to but I do think the first steps are trying to educate each other with what is the ability to keep our employees safe, all parties that are involved. The big focus of the initial conversations right now is that information share which is vitally important.”
During spring training the Yankees had two minor league players and an employee test positive for COVID-19. Cashman said Thursday that by the time those test results came back the symptoms had resolved.
“I can report all people are well,’’ Cashman said. “We had to quarantine for two weeks, our entire player development players and staff. That was a challenge to work through and deal with. Thankfully, we came through that. Hopefully some lessons learned that we can apply moving forward about how we try to keep people safe.”
If there is a season, Cashman said a short schedule could add a jolt of excitement to the game.
“A shortened season, it invites a lot more volatility, which could be exciting for the entire industry. In smaller samples a lot more haphazard things can happen,’’ Cashman said.
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