MLB and the Players Association met last week to discuss core economics for the first time since team owners imposed a lockout when the 2017-21 collective bargaining agreement expired at the beginning of December.
MLB reportedly proposed a new formula that would take the place of the current arbitration system and expanded on its draft lottery concept. The league also attempted to solve service-time manipulation by offering draft compensation to teams who include top prospects on their Opening Day roster and find success within their first three seasons.
While the latest CBA meeting between MLB and the MLBPA touched on several important issues, the luxury tax threshold and increasing the minimum salary surprisingly weren’t addressed. The union presumably will incorporate those factors when submitting their first counterproposal.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, MLB has opted not to integrate potential rule changes in current CBA negotiations with the union:
Rules changes, however, are not part of these negotiations; the league wants to deal with them separately.
On the surface, it’s easy to see why the league wants to split up rule changes from core economic issues in talks with players. They’re not mutually exclusive and could be discussed separately.
Expanding the postseason and adding a universal designated hitter are of particular interest to MLB. Despite previously being against the idea, the Players Association is now believed to be open to increasing the playoff field to 12 teams.
Furthermore, MLB is expected to eliminate the seven-inning doubleheaders and do away with runners on second base to begin extra innings. Both rules were in response to uncertainty with attempting to play a season during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
CBA needed by early March to avoid cancellation of regular season games
As the Players Association prepares its counter to MLB, the general sense is that a new CBA will have to be in place by early March to avoid regular season games being cancelled.
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