The leader of the Giants has spoken. And even if they aren’t quite his words, they carry an awful lot of weight.
Buster Posey’s third tweet in nine months was an endorsement of a post written by a venture capitalist who shredded Major League Baseball amid the battle with the Players Association, saying the owners are showing “wanton disregard for fairness and the willingness to create the most hostile dynamic possible with their most valuable assets – the players.”
Posey is careful with his words and has not often dipped his toe into matters that touch outside the baseball field, his charities the notable exception. In February, when the Giants said they would not invite Aubrey Huff to a World Series reunion, Posey, who overlapped with Huff, said he did not want to weigh in on a decision that wasn’t about baseball, that he would “defer to the people that make the decisions.”
While not exactly taking out a flamethrower and himself torching the league, Posey allowed his voice to prop up Roger Ehrenberg, the author of the piece.
“This is worth a read,” Posey wrote Thursday, two days after MLB’s first economic offer to the players, which was met harshly. “No player affiliation. No owner affiliation. Senior Wall Street veteran and venture capitalist.”
The Medium post from Ehrenberg begins with the disclaimer that yes, he wants baseball back, and then explains why the players have been so angry and principled following MLB’s first proposal. The players believed they had a deal agreed to in March that stipulated contracts would be prorated this season, meaning if half the season were played, they would receive half their contracts. The owners point to a clause that they believe allows further discussions about cuts if fans are not allowed in stadiums, as the losses would mount — losses they do not want to fully absorb, preferring the higher-compensated players’ wallets take hits as well.
In the initial proposal, all players would face pay cuts, but a sliding scale would shrink the highest earners’ contracts. Posey and Johnny Cueto were both due about $21 million this season. If the union agreed to MLB’s offer — which it will not — each would make about $5 million.
“When someone owns equity, they’re supposed to get the benefit of an increase in asset value,” Ehrenberg writes, “and to bear the loss of a decrease in asset value.”
The owners, the players and Ehrenberg argue, have enjoyed soaring team values as TV contracts have skyrocketed, gains that did not directly put money in players’ pockets. Yet when the losses come, the owners reach for those pockets.
The owners have argued the losses would be too steep, and the union has asked to see their books to see how they would truly be affected. The owners have never agreed to open their financials.
If the losses would be so large, Ehrenberg laid out four options that did not involve reaching for players’ contracts, including a bank loan and, most notably, selling a part of the team.
Wednesday night, Max Scherzer used his platform to say the players have “no reason” to absorb pay cuts, a public signal that the players would not cave as pressure mounts for a deal. Posey, in his own way, is echoing the sentiment.