MLB Lockdown: Owners, MLBPA Trade Proposals With Minor Changes; luxury tax goes unanswered during busy week
On Tuesday, MLB owners and representatives from the MLB Players Association and the league met again in Jupiter, Fla., in a bid to end the lockdown put in place by the owner that halted the Major League. Baseball on December 2. The session marked the second day in a row of intense negotiations, in contrast to what unfolded immediately after the start of the lockout when the owners took 43 days to submit a proposal on a new collective bargaining agreement (CCT) .
MLB said Feb. 28 was the last time it could reach a deal for a new CBA without delaying Opening Day (currently scheduled for March 31), though the MLBPA may disagree. . Trading sessions are expected to take place every day this week.
Monday’s meeting was the longest in the lockdown to date. The two sides reportedly met for almost five hours, although much of that time was spent in separate rooms formulating proposals, which is common in negotiation sessions. How long they meet is not as important as what is said during the meeting. In the end, MLB offered only slight tweaks to its most recent proposal.
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On Tuesday, it was the actors’ turn to propose a framework for a new ABC:
Yahoo’s Hannah Keyser adds that players are still proposing a minimum salary of $775,000 for the first year, but now with a raise of $30,000 in the second and third years.
Additionally, Keyser and others report that MLB offered a second time to bring in a federal mediator to move the talks forward, and the players declined a second time because of their preference to pursue direct negotiations with the league:
Tuesday’s suite of player proposals is in response to what the owners offered on Monday. Here is a preview of what the owners would have offered to start the week:
- Increase the bonus pool for pre-arbitration players to $20 million. MLB previously offered $15 million to the top 30 players. The MLBPA is looking for a bonus pool of $115 million to split among the top 150 players.
- Draft lottery for the first four choices. MLB previously offered a lottery for the top three picks only. The union wants the top eight picks to be decided by a lottery.
- No change from the previous luxury tax proposal. MLB is proposing a small tax increase with much stiffer penalties. The MLBPA is seeking to raise the threshold from $210 million to $245 million. More on that here.
- Canceled their request to control the total number of minor league teams, as well as their offer to limit options to five times per season, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
The two sides remain far apart on what have come to be known as “fundamental economic issues”. These fundamental economic issues include the minimum wage, the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT, also known as the luxury payroll tax), the structure of wage arbitrage, the size of a bonus pool for pre-arbitration players and revenue sharing. Very few CBT negotiations have taken place, which means it could possibly be the last hurdle. Recent requests from owners for the CBT change suggest they are trying to position it even more as a de facto salary cap.
By all indications from the MLB side, the 2022 offseason won’t resume — and spring training won’t begin — until a new collective bargaining agreement is in place, at least on a conditional basis. MLB could lift the lockout at any time, allowing baseball to resume under the terms of the old collective bargaining agreement, but the league has shown no willingness to do so.
By Evan Drellich of The Athleticthe two parties will meet again on Wednesday, as planned.