MLB, umpires reach pandemic salary agreement

The deal includes a 50% cut in May and nothing more this year if no games are played.

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Major League Baseball and the umpires union have agreed to a pandemic salary structure.

Major League Baseball and the umpires union have agreed to a pandemic salary structure.

Alex Gallardo/AP

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball and its umpires have reached a deal to cover a 2020 pay structure during the coronavirus pandemic, including a 50% cut in May and nothing more this year if no games are played.

The sides struck an agreement late Thursday night, two people told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because there was no official announcement.

As part of the deal, MLB has the right not to use instant replays of umpires’ decisions during the 2020 season. Most calls have been subject to video review since 2014, but MLB is considering playing regular-season games at spring training ballparks that are not wired for replay.

Umpires have already been paid from January through April and will be paid at a 50% rate in May. If even one regular-season game is played this season, the umps are guaranteed about one-third of their salaries.

The umps will be paid a pro-rated share of their salaries based on games over a 182-day season, according to a copy of the four-page term sheet obtained by The Associated Press. The start of the MLB season has been postponed because of the virus outbreak and there is no timetable for Opening Day.

Umpires generally make between $150,000 and $450,000.

In December, the umpires and MLB reached a deal to run through the 2024 season. As part of that agreement, umps agreed to cooperate with MLB in the development and testing of an automated ball-strike system.

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