Tough Times
May 27, 2020

Here’s how much Mike Trout would make under the MLB’s proposed salary cut

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Masterpress

If you’re a fan of professional American baseball, Tuesday was not a good day. Seemingly in tandem with Gary Bettman’s announcement of the NHL's return, news broke that the MLB, quite possibly, very likely, will not. There was hope for some sort of July 4th, back-to-baseball hoopla, but that all seems like a fairy tale now and it has very little, at least on the surface, to do with why we stopped baseball in the first place. Instead it’s about what it’s always about: Money, dinero, dough.

It’s all a little complicated for the English majors across the sports journalism world, but essentially what the MLB tabled was a new marginal salary structure for the COVID-19 shortened season in which players would get paid a percentage of every dollar earned (prorated for the proposed 80 game format), with the percentage decreasing as the salaries increase. In layman's terms, an internal income tax.

Jeff Passan does a great job of breaking this down for TurboTaxers everywhere, outlining the income and percentage brackets below:

Obviously, this better news for the minimum salary guys, who, it should be noted, are still taking home about as much per year as your reasonably successful doctor or lawyer. But what about the big guys? What about the biggest guy—the grand pooba, the highest paid player in the majors who no one even gets to watch on TV and hasn’t made the postseason since the Obama Administration? What about Mike Trout?

Well, Trout’s 2020 salary, under normal circumstances, was set to be an alarmingly satanic $37,666,666. Under the MLB’s new proposed pay cuts? Jeff, math, now, please.

$5,748,777. Now we’re not telling you to feel bad for Mike Trout. We’re not telling you NOT to feel bad for Mike Trout. But if your employer asked you to take a two/thirds-plus pay cut, we'd hope you’d tell them to go pound sand. Unsurprisingly that is exactly what the MLBPA plans to do.

Which in the end makes this story not so much about Trout, despite the disparity of what he was making and what he would be making under the MLB’s new proposal. It’s really about whether or not we’re going to be watching baseball this season, and if Manfred and co.’s first move was to ask their biggest star to take a $32 million dollar pay cut, we wouldn’t suggest holding your breath.