The 2020 Major League Baseball season — if it happens — will feature several unique elements. That much is already clear as the league and MLB Players Association attempt to formulate a plan to resume play amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the strangest possibilities that exist? The highest-paid player this season might be a retired slugger who has not appeared in a game since July 18, 2016.
Here’s how, per Rosenthal’s report:’ data-reactid=”19″>Here’s how, per Rosenthal’s report:
Prince Fielder, owed $24 million in the final year of his contract with the Rangers, is to receive his full termination pay under terms of the March agreement between the owners and players regarding a shortened or canceled 2020 season.
The amount Fielder receives might decrease if the parties reach a subsequent deal to reduce the pay of players who were released before the COVID-19 pandemic, but such an adjustment is unlikely, sources say. The players are no longer on 40-man rosters, and the sport’s collective-bargaining agreement seemingly protects the guarantees in their contracts.
In the March agreement referenced by Rosenthal, the players agreed to prorated salaries for the 2020 season. The owners are now seeking a 50-50 split of revenues for a proposed 82-game schedule. The latter didn’t sit well at all with union executive director Tony Clark, who says MLB is “trying to take advantage of a global health crisis to institute a salary cap.”
In other words, the money issues are far from settled. But a 50-50 deal would bump Fielder into an unusual position.
Fielder, who was deemed medically unable to perform after suffering a second herniated disk in his neck in 2016, would have been entering the final year of the nine-year, $214 million contract he originally signed with the Tigers.
The Rangers officially released Fielder after the 2017 season.