Time is of the essence for MLB and the Players Association (MLBPA) as the league’s February 28 deadline for a new collective agreement (CBA) to be in place and avoid delaying the start of the regular season is now just three days away.
MLB already postponed Spring Training games until at least Saturday, March 5, and has warned the union Opening Day will not be held on March 31 if a new CBA is not agreed to. With that, the league said players won’t be paid for canceled games and the contests will not be made up.
Although the two sides have met daily this week at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., little progress has been made in CBA negotiations.
According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, the latest round of discussions entailed the MLBPA making adjustments for service time and Draft penalties:
The union did narrow its ask for first-year players to be awarded service time. Previously, it requested the top-seven finishers in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) among infielders, catchers and designated hitters to receive a full year. On Thursday, it dropped that to the top five. Among outfielders and pitchers, instead of the top 20 in WAR receiving a year of service, the union asked for the top 15.
The union also eased its proposed draft penalties for losing teams, realizing that not all are tanking each year, according to sources.
Throughout the lockout it’s become evident the union’s priorities are restoring competitive balance throughout the league, getting younger players paid earlier into their careers, and the luxury tax threshold that often has acted as a de facto salary cap.
While MLB seemingly has appeared open to establishing a pre-arbitration bonus pool, a significant disparity exists in amount of money that would be set aside for qualifying players. The union is seeking $115 million, while MLB has only increased their total to $20 million this week.
What do MLB & MLBPA disagree on?
Aside from specifics of a pre-arbitration bonus pool, MLB and the MLBPA are at odds over the percentage of players who would be deemed Super Two and go through arbitration, plus the league has been adamant they will not make changes to the revenue sharing model.
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