Rob Manfred: MLB, Players Association In Agreement On Universal DH & Draft Lottery

The focal points of sporadic collective bargaining agreement (CBA) meetings between MLB and the Players Association (MLBPA) have centered around core economics of the sport, such as the collective balance tax, minimum salary and establishing a pre-arbitration bonus pool.

The union has made it clear they wish for team owners to approve a higher luxury tax threshold, raise the minimum salary and create an avenue for players not yet eligible for arbitration to be compensated for breakout performance.

Negotiations have not produced much progress and Opening Day of the 2022 regular season appears to be in danger. MLB already delayed the start of Spring Training and losing more games appears likely.

Nevertheless, during a press conference at the conclusion of owners meetings in Orlando, commissioner Rob Manfred did relay MLB and the MLBPA were in agreement on implementing a universal designated hitter, creating a Draft lottery system, increasing the minimum salary and bonus pool for pre-arbitration players, via MLB Network:

“For the first time in history and despite substantial opposition by some clubs, we’ve agreed to institute a Draft lottery to address the players’ concerns about clubs not competing. The players have said throughout the process that a key priority is getting young players paid more; we agree and we share that goal. That’s why we’ve proposed to increase pay to young players through significantly increased minimum salaries and by accepting the concept brought forward by the players of a bonus pool for the game’s best, young stars.

“Under our proposal on the table, every single pre-arbitration player would be better off than under the previous agreement. We’ve agreed to a universal designated hitter and the elimination of draft-choice compensation. These changes will improve the free agent market by creating additional jobs that are often filled by veteran players, and by eliminating the drag from compensation.”

While Manfred indicated the two sides are in alignment on the aforementioned topics, it cannot be considered official until a new CBA is in place.

Furthermore, every indication has been the league and union remain at odds over various details. Chief among them being the MLBPA is seeking a $775,000 minimum salary and $115 million bonus pool for pre-arbitration players.

MLB thus far has countered at a $640,000 starting minimum and $20 million bonus pool, respectively.

MLB sets February deadline

Despite meeting daily this week, there has been little to suggest a new CBA will be in place by the February 28 deadline set by MLB.

The league doubled down on their stance by reiterating failing to come to an agreement by the end of the month will result in regular season games being canceled and not rescheduled.

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