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Mark Teixeira: MLB should be back, but owners better not ‘break’ union

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Mark Teixeira said he was “cautiously optimistic” Major League Baseball and the Players Association would come to an agreement in the coming weeks to allow for there to be an abbreviated season.

But the retired Yankee added if the two sides don’t come together, there could be dire consequences for the sport.

“I would hate for owners to use this opportunity to break the union,’’ Teixeira said. “This is our lives.”

Speaking on Baseball Tonight Podcast, the ESPN analyst called the owners’ proposal to the union this week, which included a sliding pay scale that would cost highly paid veterans a huge chunk of their salaries “worse than the offer floated a few weeks ago with the 50-50 revenue split.”

“What I see, this sliding pay scale deal is basically the owners saying, ‘I’m gonna pit the young players against the veterans and I’m gonna bet that the young players want to play,’ ’’ Teixeira said. “’And I’m gonna bet the veterans are gonna say no way this is ridiculous and I’m gonna let you fight amongst each other ’til you come back to the table.’’ ’

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Mark Teixeira
Mark TeixeiraGetty Images

It’s already drawn strong criticism from veteran players like Washington’s Max Scherzer, who wrote on Twitter Wednesday night “After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions.”

Another member of MLBPA’s Executive Subcommittee, former Yankee Andrew Miller, had a more positive tone speaking with The Post’s Ken Davidoff Thursday.

“I think we’ll figure it out,” said Miller, now with the Cardinals. “I know the rhetoric out there is not in the greatest place in the last couple of days. The reality is it’s in the best interest for everyone to play.’’



It won’t be easy.

The players and owners agreed to a pact in March that protected both sides against the worst-case scenario of no season at all. It said the players would get a prorated portion of their pay, but the reality of playing games without fans has muddied the water.

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Teixeira, who drew criticism earlier this month when he said he “would rather make pennies on the dollar and give hope to people and play baseball than not make anything and lose an entire year off their career”, said Thursday the players should ask the owners to open their books.

“I’m not gonna trust you when you just tell me ‘This is what we’re making,’ ” Teixeira said. “Open your books. It’s not that hard to figure out what the revenues are gonna be. The TV contracts are set. We pretty much understand what each game means from a playoff standpoint and the revenue that’s created, but if there are no fans in the stands, you just take that line item out of the revenues budget.”

There’s clearly a significant gap between the two sides, but Teixeira believes it will close.

“I think, eventually, players and owners will understand there are ways to move forward,’’ he said. “And as bad as it looks [Thursday], I am cautiously optimistic for some agreement in the next few weeks.”

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And that’s in part because the players know how much is at stake, especially for the players, who can ill-afford having no season lead to another work stoppage heading into the next CBA.

“[The union] sticking together may mean we don’t have a season this year and that’s what frightens me the most,’’ Teixeira said. “If the players don’t in-fight, if they don’t take the bait the owners have thrown out there, they’ve got to come back to the owners with some sort of proposal that makes financial sense so MLB has some sort of incentive to actually play baseball this year — because they are going to lose a boatload of money, no matter what.”

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