Red Sox

McAdam: Will the 2020 MLB season be saved? After the health concerns, follow the money

On Monday, owners backed a proposal by Major League Baseball for an 82-game season, scheduled to begin in early July.

Next up, MLB will present its plan to the Major League Baseball Players Association Tuesday.

Now comes the hard part.

Even if the two sides reach agreement on the mechanics of a shortened-schedule (expanded regular-season rosters; bigger playoff field; universal DH) and the players are satisfied that returning to play will be safe for them, their teammates and their families, there remains the significant hurdle of determining how -- and specifically, how much -- the players will be made.

And that's where this could go sideways in a hurry.

Again, there are other complicated hurdles to clear first. But ultimately, the tough going will be -- as is seemingly always the case in disputes between owners and players -- over money.

The Players Association believes much of this has already been settled in an agreement with MLB at the end of March. At the time, MLB agreed to pay players $170 million for April and May. There was also an agreement that, if the season were to get underway later, players would be paid their normal salaries on a pro-rated basis. Using that agreement as a template, players would receive half their salaries in an 82-game schedule.

Cut-and-dried, right?

Not quite.

The owners maintain the original agreement was made with the expectation that fans would be attending games. Now, of course, that's not going to be the case -- at least not at the resumption of play and likely not at all in 2020. Given that game-day revenue (tickets, parking, concessions, etc) constitute about 40 percent of baseball's revenues, that's a not inconsiderable amount to consider.

Instead, MLB intends to offer