MLB Lockout Rumors: Players Association Lowered Pre-Arbitration Bonus Pool & Agreed To New 2023 Rules In Latest CBA Offer

Despite meeting for nine consecutive days at Roger Dean Stadium, MLB and the Players Association (MLBPA) were unable to get a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in place by the league’s self-imposed March 1 deadline.

That prompted MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to cancel Opening Day and the first two series of the 2022 regular season. His decision drew the ire of the union, who criticized Manfred and team owners in a statement.

MLB deputy commissioner Dan Halem and MLBPA lead negotiator Bruce Meyer held an informal meeting late last week and it was followed by the union presenting their latest CBA counteroffer on Sunday.

According to Evan Drellich of The Athletic, the MLBPA agreed to implementing a pitch clock and additional new rules starting with the 2023 season, and also lowered their ask with a pre-arbitration bonus pool:

The players agreed, contingent on other things, to an element the league was seeking regarding on-field rule changes: the ability for the commissioner to put in a pitch clock, larger bases or restrictions on the shift, as early as the 2023 season.

The Players Association also dropped its proposed starting point for a pre-arbitration bonus pool to $80 million, down from $85 million.

Despite initially leaving out potential rule changes during CBA discussions, MLB more recently began incorporating them. Proposals for new on-field rules has been accompanied by the league also looking to reduce the required notice time from one year to 45 days.

It was previously reported the MLBPA was against such a change.

Under the 2017-21 CBA, the Players Association granted Manfred the authority to unilaterally implement rule changes one year after they were first proposed to the union. New rules otherwise could be expedited and 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.

MLB, MLBPA remain apart on luxury tax

Although the Players Association once again has given into some of MLB’s demands, changing the luxury tax thresholds was not among them.

The MLBPA continues to ask for a competitive balance tax line of $238 million for the 2022 season and increase to $263 million by the final year of the CBA.

The league has countered at $220 million for the 2022, 2023 and 2024 seasons; $224 million in 2025 and $230 million in 2026. The luxury tax threshold was set at $210 million in 2021.

To keep up with the United States’ 7.5% inflation, the CBT for the 2022 season would need to be around $225 million; thus making an offer of $220 million is essentially asking the players to take a pay cut.

Owners Bob Castellini (Cincinnati Reds), Chris Ilitch (Detroit Tigers), Ken Kendrick (Arizona Diamondbacks) and Arte Moreno (L.A. Angels) reportedly were against MLB raising the first threshold from $214 million to $220 million in their latest proposal.

Some owners additionally were said to have referenced the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets to tell a cautionary tale of allowing for too aggressive of spending.

Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!