When Major League Baseball ownership voted to lock out the players on December 1st (and implemented the lockout the next day) they claimed that they did so in order to speed up negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement. After walking into the meeting with the Major League Baseball Players Association and telling the players that they would not discuss multiple issues related to service time or certain monetary issues, the ownership side walked out of the meeting after 7 minutes and then spent the next 6 weeks not making a proposal to the players association. That certainly sped things up…..

But today the two sides are set to meet in a video conference. According to Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers of ESPN the ownership side is set to propose “core economics” during the meeting, which is what the major sticking points between the two sides have been. The first time, before the lockout, that MLB’s side discussed their core economic ideas it included actually lowering the luxury tax threshold. Hopefully today things go a little bit better because there’s almost no way that the players accept a lower luxury tax threshold as nearly the entire league treats it as a salary cap.

Typically these things go in a back-and-forth manner. This meeting the ownership side presents their side of things and will get a little bit of feedback from the players side of things, and then the next time they meet the players will make their presentation of what they want/are looking for and get feedback from the other side.

Pitchers and catchers are due to show up to spring training in less than five weeks. That won’t happen if players are still locked out. Games are set to begin on February 26th – that’s six weeks from now. Those won’t take place if the players are still locked out, and even if they aren’t, it’s possible those first few games wouldn’t take place if the players didn’t have enough time to get ramped up to safely play those games (this is mostly the pitchers side of things).

If a few spring training games are missed there won’t be much of an uproar. But Opening Day is in late March and if the season gets pushed or shortened, that is going to be very bad for a game that is barely hanging on to a lot of fans as it is.

22 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    I’m still far from optimistic either side is willing to budge enough to make significant progress. I wouldn’t be surprised if this meeting ended up being pretty brief with one side getting up and walking out.

    Pessimistic over/under for me still stands at July 4. No science or facts behind that. Just me gut feeling that these guys are that oblivious to the fanbase.

  2. Homer (Not Bailey)

    Here’s a couple radical thoughts: Get rid of service time altogether, limit contracts to three years with no annual limit on money. Players could hit free agency while young, bad contracts won’t crush a small market team for a decade, and rookies can break camp with the major league team.

    • Grand Salami

      Football revenue sharing, team salary caps, and other elements have been a huge part of it’s success. The Bengals are not a particularly well run organization but have returned to being competitive due in large part to these league structures.

      However, football players rights and baseball players bargaining rights are so disparate that those features mentioned above are really impossible to implement in MLB

    • Stock

      This would absolutely crush small market teams. It would eliminate the need for a good farm system because a player can move after a year in the majors. It would be devastating to the Rays.

      The established players would hate it too. They went through 6 years of being controlled and now can not sign a contract for more than 3 years. This is not the security they were hoping for.

      The Yankees would be all over it. They give out 10, 3 year contracts for 25 million a year and are pretty much set. No need to keep a Gary Sanchez on the payroll because Tyler Stephenson is a FA and they can outspend the Reds.

      • Homer (Not Bailey)

        On the flip side a team like the Reds can also take a chance on going all in more aggressively since they would know they’re not stuck with a bad contract for the next decade. Like I said, it’s a radical idea. Honestly I would like to see a million dollar per year per player cap so I could afford to take my kids to a game again.

      • Stock

        The Reds can already afford to go all in for 2 or 3 players with long term contracts. Votto and Bailey are prime examples. The last two years they had Suarez, Moustakas, Castellanos and Votto all with more than 3 years on their contract.

        But the Yankees and Dodgers would be able to churn the top players. Players like India and Stephenson would be gone after their rookie seasons.

        What is the point of spending millions on a farm system if you can’t control them for at least 5 years? There would be no incentive for any team to develop players. Better to let someone else spend millions on development and signings and then when they are ready steal them for their team.

  3. Grand Salami

    The financial ramifications already are bad for everyone.

    If, like me, everyone is visiting this site less frequently and interest is waning, it will have repurcussions into the season – God forbid an actual delay.

    Just received a nice Reds mug from the team for my ticket package but I still haven’t renewed it. I have to think that non-business based packages (fan season ticket holders) have fallen off a cliff.

    • Doug Gray

      I will confirm that traffic is way down it’s costing me a lot of money in advertising revenue.

    • LDS

      GS, got to hit the site daily even if there’s little that you react to. In truth, though the content suffers from new to leverage, it’s about the best you’re going to find on the Reds at the moment. Some of the other Reds news sites are a bit flashier but seem less news focused.

  4. LDS

    No one in the negotiations are thinking about the damage to the image of baseball and impact of this foot dragging on the fanbase. While it’s always risky to assume that “this time is different”, at least for some teams, e.g., the Reds, attendance trends seem to suggest that it just may be.

    • Jonathan Linn

      Agreed LDS. Each owner seems to be in their own best interest and not in the best interest in the game as a whole. The NFL and NBA have done that a lot better than what MLB has. its still an us against them mentality; which is hurting the game.

      • David

        There are certainly things that can be adapted from the NFL and the NBA, but ML baseball does support extensive farm systems to develop players.
        The NBA is set up (or from my last recollection) that the players get 66% of the revenue, from attendance and TV. Most NBA games draw pretty well (or at least used to, prior to the Covid 19 era), and tickets were about $50 a seat, and then WAY UP; courtside seats in some arenas were literally thousands per seat. Going to an NBA game is expensive. 82 game season 41 home games (excluding the play-offs).
        The NFL has a larger roster than a MLB team, but again, college football is their farm team. 16 game season, minus pre-season and playoffs.

        Is the MLB season too long? Do they need more playoff teams to expand interest? Are these things the league needs to do to improve the image?
        Would a salary cap help, or would the Player’s association shoot that down? I think it could help the mythological “parity” between teams, but the players might reject it because it might impinge on their hopes for the Big Pay Day. A salary cap might have to be linked with shortening the time to reach Free Agency. And a shorter time to reach Free Agency for the MLB players might also make teams re-think their farm systems, as in putting less money into them.
        The salary cap in the NBA is calculated (I think, as I remember), on the league’s total revenue, and the number of teams. So it has been rising for years (it has fallen off recently). Teams were/have been structuring player deals in the anticipation of the ever-rising salary cap.

  5. MBS

    I doubt they do anything to fix baseballs issues. It will just be about who gets how much money, as opposed to how to make the league more competitive.

    @Grand Salami, yes the NFL model is the way to go, but these 2 sides are never going that route. The MLB and Players need to realize that Baseball is the product, and an uneven league is not good baseball, which means it’s not a good product. I doubt if I was a kid today, that I’d watch baseball.

    • Stock

      I think they can get closer to the NFL if they expand the playoffs. I think TV revenue from the playoffs is split between the 30 team. More playoff games means more revenue from these games which means more money to the small market teams.

      • Doug Gray

        30% of all local TV revenues are put into a big pot then split evenly among all teams as it is now. The “small” market teams are already getting tons of money via various revenue sharing programs.

  6. Rednat

    it is really frustrating because in this covid era, baseball has a chance to become “America’s game” again. with all the cancellations, the nba and nhl are in a lot of trouble. the nfl is having its issues as well. the mlb season could be the closest thing to “normal” we may have for a long time.

    i hope the owners and players see this but I have a feeling they will continue to be shortsighted.

    • Mark Moore

      I think baseball fans will turn back to the MiLB once again. That’s my current plan and I have some regret I didn’t go to any of the local games last year. My oldest is hoping to get back in with her High-A team once they start hiring seasonal staff. It’s nearly the perfect summer gig for her, especially the way they’ve structured the schedule.

      • Doug Gray

        That sounds like it’s right around the corner – I’ve seen a handful of teams in the last 2-3 days post that they are now hiring for certain positions, and not all of them were in ticket sales (which would start before the season begins, unlike many of the other “seasonal” staffing jobs).

  7. TR#1

    I propose high school players have 10 years and college players 8 years of team control from draft. Keep the same rules where a player is arbitration eligible after 3 years of service (could incorporate current super 2 rules too).

    HS players would reach free agency at 28 or 29 and 29 or 30 for college. A HS player coming up in 2 years could have 5 years of arbitration where they could come close to value by last few years. A slow moving player wouldn’t be held from free agency until 30’s. This hopefully promotes moving up players sooner who are clearly ready. You could even lower this to 9 and 7 years if players give up something else.

  8. Doug Gray

    I emailed the people who made the comments, but I’m posting this for everyone, too…. we absolutely are not going to have the kinds of comments here that devolve into calling people racists and discussing politics. The comments will be deleted and depending on the severity of the posts, warnings may not even be given and the participants may simply be banned from commenting in the future. Play nice or you don’t get to play.

  9. burtgummer01

    MLB needs a hard cap NHL has it and the NFL has it

  10. Old-school

    Jeff passan has some updates but states spring training is in peril and significant progress before March 1 until games are threatened could be minimal