MLB Lockout Rumors: Players Association Offered Increased Minimum Salary, Pre-Arbitration Bonus Pool & Luxury Tax Thresholds

The past week of meetings at Roger Dean Stadium produced very little progress on collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations, but MLB and the Players Association began to make headway at the league’s self-imposed deadline on Monday.

The two sides held a marathon negotiating session that included 13 face-to-face meetings and featured exchanging of proposals. After being at the Spring Training home of the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals for more than 16 hours, talks were suspended until Tuesday morning.

With that, MLB pushed back the CBA deadline to 2 p.m. PT but reportedly cautioned it was more firm and would result in Opening Day being delayed and regular season games canceled if an agreement wasn’t finalized.

While the union has suggested significant differences remain, MLB did agree to increases with the starting competitive balance threshold, minimum salary and in the pre-arbitration bonus pool, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan:

After setting a Monday deadline for a deal to salvage a March 31 Opening Day following the league’s Dec. 2 lockout of players, MLB made significant moves Monday and early Tuesday, bumping the CBT threshold to $220 million, the minimum salary to $675,000 and the bonus pool to $25 million, according to sources.

The union has asked for the competitive balance tax line to be set at $245 million for the 2022 season and increase to $273 million by the final year of the CBA.

MLB had been countering at $214 million for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, then $216 million, $218 million and $222 million over the remaining lifetime of the CBA. The competitive balance tax line was set at $210 million in 2021.

According to multiple reports, MLB’s newest offer includes luxury tax thresholds of $210 million in 2022, 2023 and 2024; $224 million in 2025 and $230 million in 2026. Perhaps more notable, however, is the league has backed off imposing harsher penalties for exceeding the CBT.

Luxury tax rates from the prior CBA are expected to carryover at 20% penalty for the first $20 million over the threshold, 32.5% for $20 million to $40 million overage, and 62.5% for spending more than $40 million over.

Meanwhile, MLBPA has sought a $725,000 minimum salary and $115 million for the pre-arbitration bonus pool. They also had interest in expanding the percentage of players who would qualify for Super Two status, but are believed to have moved off that request.

MLB likely adding expanded postseason

What doesn’t appear to be as contentious of a topic is the expanded postseason. Team owners have preferred 14 teams play October baseball, but the sides appear to have settled on the union’s desire for 12 instead.

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