MLB News: The five key topics holding up a new CBA

Another meeting is scheduled for Tuesday between MLB and the MLBPA. As the lockdown enters its third month, there are growing fears that the light at the end of the tunnel is many miles away. The two sides failed to find common ground on virtually every controversial topic when it came to the ABC news.

In their latest ABC update, Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic say MLB starting spring training on time is “clearly in danger.” The two MLB experts also went through the five hot topics that are holding up negotiation sessions.

Minimum wage

MLB organizations have come to realize that the younger, cheaper player is worth far more than paying market value for an eight-year MLB veteran. The MLBPA also received the memo. Raising minimum wages is near the top of their CBA to-do list.

“The players proposed to increase the minimum from $570,500 to $775,000. The owners proposed that players earn $615,000 in the first year, $650,000 in the second, and $700,000 in the third.

Pre-Arbitrage Bonus Pools

One of the few things the two have agreed on is to institute a “bonus pool” for top performing players who have less than three years of service.

In a post last week, Drellich explained both sides’ stance on pool size.

“Now, in the union version of that bonus pool, $105 million would be newly available to players. The league’s proposal on Tuesday included less than a tenth of that, at $10 million.

This one might take a few more meetings.

Luxury tax / Competitive equilibrium tax threshold

The CBT angers the MLBPA because instead of balancing spending between big and small teams in the market, it acted as a salary cap.

“The threshold in baseball was intended to slow down the spending of teams like the Yankees and Dodgers, prevent them from signing all the biggest stars. Instead, it served as a de facto cap for some clubs, helping to limit wage growth. This is where the union’s concern lies.

Lottery system project

The NBA is familiar with the coin toss system. The top of the draft order is not fixed by order of arrival in the classification. Finishing last does not guarantee a team a first pick, but it does increase the odds of a team receiving the first pick via the lottery.

As in basketball, the idea is to prevent MLB teams from intentionally fielding uncompetitive teams to ensure they get the best picks in the draft. For MLB clubs, a high draft pick represents a cost-controllable asset with an incredibly high upside.

“Both teams would include all non-playoff teams in a lottery. The league only wants the top three picks in play. The union wants the top eight. And while that number is likely negotiable, the biggest fight could be over the union’s desire to reward additional picks for teams that meet certain performance levels. The league does not want to be part of such a plan.

Service Time Manipulation

Much like tanking, manipulating service time also falls under intentionally not fielding an uncompetitive team category. Under the current system, teams are financially incentivized not to call their top prospects even when faced with a dire roster need until the end of April.

“By keeping the best young players in the minors longer, clubs can gain an extra year of control over them before they reach free agency.”

All the stubborn disagreements on the above topics are what led Rosenthal and Drellich to declare, “A new CBA is not near.

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