After going six weeks with largely silence because of the lockout, MLB and the Players Association have held meetings on consecutive days this week to discuss an array of economic topics.
The two sides have been far apart on many key issues, but the union took a significant step toward helping facilitate a resolution by dropping its request for an age-based free agency system and revising their request pertaining to revenue sharing amongst teams.
That shifted focus to ownership with a hope they too would make strides in negotiating in good faith.
According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers and Jeff Passan, MLB countered with a willingness to establish a pool of money for pre-arbitration players, but at a significantly lower amount than requested by the MLBPA:
MLB is offering $10 million in the pool while the players want $105 million, according to sources. The money would be distributed to the top 30 pre-arbitration players based on Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and awards, such as the MVP and Cy Young Awards.
The league additionally offered to increase the minimum salary, but again at a value below what the union has asked for:
MLB also offered to increase the starting minimum salary for first-year players from $600,000 to $615,000, but the players want a bump to $775,000.
Two days of meetings is certainly an encouraging development for the sport, but it’s evident the parties remain far apart on multiple issues. Furthermore, it’s not yet believed details for the luxury tax threshold have been outlined.
MLB thus far has been reluctant to aggressively increase it as much as the Players Association wishes. The players’ hope is doing so will encourage more teams to spend and thus improve competitive balance.
Key dates for MLB lockout
With January winding to a close, the assumption is a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) needs to be in place during the first few days of February if Spring Training camps are to open on time in the middle of next month.
March 1 is viewed as the deadline if Opening Day of the 2022 regular season is to remain March 31.
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