MLB and the Players Association have held daily meetings at Roger Dean Stadium over this past week in effort to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) by the league’s February 28 deadline.
Despite MLB reiterating that a deal must be reached by then to avoid canceling regular season games, only minimal progress has been made thus far. The sides remain far apart on the core economics of a new CBA, including the competitive balance tax, pre-arbitration bonus pool and minimum starting salary, among other topics.
One bright spot from the latest round of negotiations on Friday is that MLB and the MLBPA appear to be nearing an agreement for a new Draft lottery system. A few details still need to be ironed out, such as how many teams will qualify for a lottery and how often a team can enter it.
Friday’s meeting also reportedly saw the league raise the possibility of introducing rule changes at a faster rate than under the previous CBA. According to Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the union did not have a favorable response to this idea:
Players reacted negatively to the league’s idea of a shorter period to implementation, sources said.
MLB now looking to implement rule changes in CBA meetings is a change in course as it was previously reported the league wanted to deal with them separately.
Under the 2017-21 CBA, the Players Association granted MLB commissioner Rob Manfred the authority to unilaterally implement rule changes one year after they were first proposed to the union. New rules otherwise could be enacted with the union’s consent.
Manfred didn’t take such action, but MLB did use the Minors, Atlantic League and Arizona Fall League last year to test a wide range of new rules. The league reportedly is looking to reduce the notice to just 45 days.
What rule changes could come to MLB?
MLB specifically mentioned a pitch clock to the Players Association in recent CBA meetings, which has long been a focal point for Manfred. The league is also believed to have interest in limiting the number pickoff attempts permitted per plate appearance, banning defensive shifts, utilizing an automated strike zone and increasing the size of bases.
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