Earlier today the representation for the owners of Major League Baseball met with the representation of the Major League Baseball Players Association. For the most part it doesn’t seem that the meeting between the two sides made much progress as the ownership side made several proposals.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network is reporting that the owners are dead set against allowing players to reach free agency after five years instead of six. The players want free agency to come sooner as teams are both delaying free agency through service time manipulation and also mostly refusing to pay for non-star caliber free agents like they have in the past, thus cutting off “payback” earnings from when players were severely underpaid before reaching free agency. That report was backed up by one from Evan Drellich of The Athletic.
Ownership didn’t change their first offer before the lockout on minimum salary, sticking with a raise of $600,000 a year to $700,000 a year in a tiered system. The players have proposed a starting minimum salary of $775,000 to start and having it escalate to $875,000 by the end of the CBA. With inflation, a $600,000 minimum salary is worth less than the minimum salary at the start of the 2017 season by $50,000.
Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet is reporting that he heard that the owners offered a “solution to service time manipulation” that would award teams an additional draft pick if a “highly ranked (top 150 ranked)” prospect spent the full year in the league and finished in the top five in awards voting for the MVP, Cy Young, or Rookie of the Year. The problem here is that MLB employees (via MLB.com) get to vote for these awards and the “ranking” wasn’t specified and MLB.com has their own rankings. There’s a massive conflict of interest here. And that ignores that, realistically the only change here is that owners are actually rewarding themselves here. There is actually no punishment at all for doing what they’ve always done, just a small little reward, maybe, for not doing that thing.
Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers of ESPN report that the owners countered the players proposal of 12 teams making the playoffs with a proposal that 14 teams make the playoffs.
Where there was some progress made, though, was on the designated hitter front. The ownership side proposed a universal DH and it seems that they are in agreement with the players on that coming with the new deal. Sorry, holdouts, but it seems like you’ve lost this battle.
For the most part, as Eugene Freedman puts it, the proposal today from MLB was mind boggling unserious.
yet. They aren’t being serious. They aren’t trying to meet the Union’s interests at the same time achieving their own. They are asking for more and saying if you give us the more we are asking, we will give ourselves rewards. It’s mind boggling unserious.
I’ve never been in 6/
— (((EugeneFreedman))) (@EugeneFreedman) January 13, 2022