Over the weekend the owners of Major League Baseball teams had their representatives present the Major League Baseball Players Association with a 130-page proposal. The players rejected the offer that did see a few minuscule improvements to their last offer. What the rejection means is that the start of spring training is not going to begin on time. And it makes it more and more likely that the regular season isn’t going to start on time, too, because the movement towards anything realistic from the ownership side of things has been at a snails pace in a marathon.

So what did the ownership side alter that seemed to move things in the right direction in their latest proposal?

The owners offered higher salaries for players in their first three years of big league time. Their offer would be for $615,000, $650,000, and $725,000 for each of a players first three seasons. The players are asking for league minimum to start at $775,000.

The two sides agreed in the past to a “pre-arbitration” bonus pool, but they were very far apart on how much money should be in that pool. The players initially asked for it to be $105M, while the owners offered $10M. That was bumped up to $15M to be spread out to the top 30 pre-arbitration players in the game.

How many times a player can be optioned in a year was also in the owners proposal. In the past a player could be called up and down as many times in a season as a team wanted as long as the player remained in the minors for 10 days between call ups (unless called up to replace an injured player). The owners put in a limit of five options within a single season. However, there is a secondary attachment to this one and it would be to give the league the ability to limit how many minor league players are allowed to be in an organization.

The movement on both of those things was tiny and the gap between where the owners are and where the players are remains monumentally large.

And then there’s the stuff that they offered that actually moved things in the wrong direction….

The owners made the absolute tiniest increase to the luxury tax threshold, raising it in increments that would total $8M more before the CBA ends. Of course with that tiny increase before penalties, MLB made the penalties for going over the luxury tax threshold significantly more harsh than in the past. If the revenue of baseball and the original luxury tax threshold remained in a constant relation with each other over the years the luxury tax number would be $100M higher than it is today. The players want the tax threshold to be much higher than the owners are proposing, looking for it to begin at $245M and go up from there over the years to $273M in 2026. The owners want it to end at $226M with this CBA, and they want to make the penalties so harsh that they almost dare someone to go beyond it. They want to go from basically a soft salary cap to an actual salary cap without calling it that.

Service time manipulation is something the players want to fix. Somehow, even though it was already in the rules that teams couldn’t do it, it’s almost impossible to prove unless the team is so stupid as to say they are actually doing it and so they’ve been able to get away with it for 40 years. Everyone knows it happens. The owners solution is to reward themselves with draft picks if they follow the previous rules and also get the best case scenario outcome. Owners now are offering themselves two extra draft picks if they keep a rookie up for a full season and that player finishes in the top 3 in the Rookie of the Year, or in the top 3 of the MVP or Cy Young Award voting within their first 3 seasons.

Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com has a good write up, with help from Joon Lee, about all of the bigger proposals from the latest offer from the owners.

61 Responses

  1. LDS

    As an outsider, it’s awfully hard to take the owners seriously. Shortsighted to be sure but they are counting on the fans to be bamboozled. Sad state of affairs.

    • BK

      I see it differently. The players have stated their goal is to get younger players paid more, earlier in their careers and to improve competition. Yet, they have asked for a substantial increase to the CBT levels (soft salary cap) and for money to be pulled from revenue sharing. Both measures will increase spending by large market teams on free agents. In other words, they will help the players that are already doing the best (and I’ll add, better than in other pro leagues by far) and increase disparity in spending between large and small market teams. In short, the CBT is already too high and really isn’t working well for most players or most teams.

      The current CBA (and proposals on the table) deprive Owners of their #1 goal which is cost certainty–this is #1 as is reduces risk. Because of this uncertainty, they will fight to minimize payroll cost–the next best alternative to having cost certainty which leaves them wanting to stay as close to status quo as possible. The Owners’ approach is exactly what I would expect it to be.

      If MLBPA accepted stagnant CBT levels and focused on increasing the “bonus” pool for pre-arb players and minimum salaries, I would totally agree with you. Then, MLBPA’s “asks” would match their goals. From a negotiating standpoint, don’t expect much movement until the “asks” are refined. But, if they can agree to only modest increases in the CBT, I would expect ownership to soften on the pre-arb pool and minimum salaries.

      • AllTheHype

        I think it is VERY telling that MLBPA has NOT proposed a salary floor, but they do want the upper limits raised significantly. The easiest and perhaps surest way to ensure competitive balance, if that is indeed MLBPA’s goal, would be to propose a floor.

        Thanks for your detailed opinion. The articles on this site are almost entirely one sided. Only the comments from site visitors contain analysis of the other side.

      • LDS

        Sorry but the CFA largely left the owners with all the power. As for revenue/expense certainty, I’ve never worked in an industry that had that certainty.

      • BK

        @LDS, if the CBA gave all of the power to the Owners, we would see a salary cap/floor and fixed percentage of revenues going to the players. They have offered this in some form at least twice in the last two years and it is what they wanted when the players went on strike.

        As for businesses that have the cost certainty I describe: NHL, NFL and NBA; three very relevant peers of MLB. While other business may not know their cost/expense structure exactly, they spend a great deal of time modeling it to predict it as accurately as possible. I agree there are industries with more volatile cost structures/more risk and accordingly must pay more to draw investment dollars. Likewise, the more uncertainty MLBPA asks for in a CBA, the more the Owners will push for the status quo in negotiations. That’s why this is so contentious.

    • Redsvol

      @BK – I like your arguments but there is one huge difference between the NFL, NBA and MLB (I don’t follow NHL so not sure of their situation). The NFL and NBA don’t rely on these club by club regional sports network contracts. They rely on their national broadcast contracts and they split it evenly. The idea that the Yankees can have their network separate from the Reds automatically causes the problem. It would be like the Cowboys having their own network and the Detroit Lions having their own. This doesn’t happen in the NFL. The Lions benefit from the popularity of the Cowboys. Teams are allowed to have their own other sources of revenue, but when it comes to broadcasting (the main part of sports revenue), all teams benefit equally.

      I’m firmly on the owners side in this one. When the MLBPA executive committee consists of Gerrit Cole, Max Sherzer, and Marcus Simien – 3 players who will average 25 -40 million dollars per year next year on their recent contracts – it is silly to think the players have a leg to stand on. Now if you put 3 middle relievers, a DH, a catcher and a couple former players on the committee I might start to think the players side is arguing for something they need. Instead they ask the mega-agents like Scott Boras what they should argue for (duh?) Until all teams share in broadcasting, a salary floor and ceiling should be their argument – revenue sharing is totally flawed in the current model of MLB. Very few players honestly care about the game – its very obvious.

      • BK

        I agree; divvying up revenues between teams is a unique challenge to MLB due to the regional sports contracts.

      • MBS

        The tv contracts could be pooled into one sum, and divided evenly amongst the teams tomorrow. I doubt NY and LA will want that but they could do it if they wanted to. As individual contracts fall off new contracts could be made as part of a growing national deal.

        I personally like the idea of going to one of the streaming services, like Disney+, Amazon Prime, or Netflix. With Disney owning ESPN it could be a good fit, as they could showcase the best games on prime time, and stream all others on the Disney app. I think it’s only a matter of time before one of these services ends up with a professional sports league’s exclusive rights to air. Baseball should try to be first for a change.

      • MBS

        I don’t get why people are so worried how much money millionaires and billionaires make. Meanwhile the single mom working at Walmart needs food stamps to get by. If you’re really worried about inequality you’re arguing the wrong fight. I don’t begrudge the owners or players, I just don’t care who get how much. Let just hope the figure out their differences in time for a full season.

      • Amarillo

        The NHL CBA is weighted towards young players. They have a minimum salary of 750,000 and much earlier free agency than MLB. You can be a free agent only a couple years after being drafted. They also have a salary cap of around 80 Million and a floor of 60 Million. This means that the absolute biggest stars don’t make more than around 10 Million, and money on the roster is spread more evenly. The MLBPA tends to want the biggest stars to have even larger shares than the average player, so there is more class stratification in MLB.

  2. Frostgiant

    I am mostly with the players on this but I am kind of for creating this hard salary cap. We need all the teams to actively compete and having a forced min and max for a cap could help that.

    • BK

      If the lockout persists into the season, it would not surprise me to see the Owner’s pivot to what you are suggesting. A cap and a floor with a defined percentage of revenues going to the players would incentivize Owners and MLBPA to work together to boost total revenues. It would create the “win/win” which should be the goal of any negotiation. Keep in mind, MLBPA went on strike to avoid this model. I’m always disappointed when journalist interview players, Tony Clark or agents that they don’t ask them why they are opposed to the approach that seems to work pretty well for the NFL, NHL and NBA.

      • Michael

        @BK you nailed it. NFL and NBA (not as familiar with the NHL breakdown) has lead to something resembling harmony between owners and players. It makes teams spend money since their is a floor and it is not low.

        I guess the real issue might be teams that have much larger local tv deals compared to national deal which is not the case to my knowledge for any team in the NBA and NFL.

      • Gonzo Reds

        BK you are on a roll today. Perhaps we should let you set the first lineup in our upcoming strat-o-matic league. Tom would be up there too in priority if he agrees to keep up with it again this year. The only question is do we have to implement a NL DH since it’s not officially a thing as of yet (and preferably never – sure Lorenzen agrees).

        Gonna be a long summer…

  3. Mark Moore

    I’m far from optimistic at this point. It just seems like neither side is (at least publicly) doing all that much negotiating. They are playing summer camp ping-pong when it needs to be something more aggressive. But that’s just me. And I still tend to lean toward the players PoV. The owners have a self-regulated monopoly and until that changes, little else will change.

    • BK

      I agree they are far apart … perhaps a mediator would help?

      One other point, the Curt Flood Act of 1998 clarified that MLB players ARE covered by federal anti-trust laws just like other professional athletes. MLB’s anti-trust exemption is not in play WRT to CBA negotiation.

      • Mark Moore

        The use of a mediator at this juncture is pretty pointless from where I sit. No real power to do anything.

        Interesting about the Flood Act. I figure it has to come crashing down at some point. I know the exemption isn’t in play. I just think that’s where it needs to go.

      • Redsvol

        I agree a mediator would likely help. It would force the 2 sides to get on a schedule and actually negotiate at a much faster pace. It would be public knowledge – and obvious – who was slowing the pace of negotiation and who was actually contributing and bartering. What’s missing now is no urgency – neither side is worried about looking bad in the court of public opinion.

        I think the owners could make the players look like fools in the media if they wanted to – they’ve given on minimum salary, they’ve given on a bonus pool for pre-arb players, They’ve agreed to do away with draft picks awarded to teams losing free agents, they’ve offered a higher tax threshold, they’ve given the DH (which the players wanted), they’ve agreed to pay minor leaguers better, they’ve agreed to better living arrangements to players, they’ve forced their contractors (minor league teams) to upgrade their work conditions, and on and on.

        The national media loves to paint the owners as bad guys. Why? – because they rely on the players to give them interviews and gossip. And, its easier than trying to challenge and hold the players side accountable on something. The owners/teams are already obligated to give the media access – the players aren’t. There is a lot of laziness in media, very few actually dig for real stories – they just print what some mouthpiece tells them instead of doing the background.

  4. Stock

    I am 100% with the owners. The players want to increase the cap by much more than acceptable to maintain competitive balance. We already see the Dodgers and Yankees in the playoffs every year. Increasing the cap by 33% will only ensure the Dodgers win 110 games every year instead of 100.

    The players want to increase the pre-arbitration salaries 50%. This is fine if this means you keep the cap as it is. The owners proposal provides Aristides Aquino a 25% raise next year. Not bad for someone who hit .190 with below average defense.

    The players proposal also includes a reduction in revenue sharing. This also ensures that small market teams can not compete and further tilts the scales against competitive balance. I am not sure how reducing revenue sharing helps the players. However, it could pit the owners against each other and that may be their intent.

  5. Optimist

    What don’t the owners control – Little League thru HS baseball, NCAA baseball, and a few scattered semi-pro/independent MiLBs. What’s left in their control – MiLB and MLB. As NIL rules come into play, how much, if any, talent will that redirect into NCAA baseball?

    As for the MLBPA, who are they negotiating for – only MLB players, and they have conflicting interests within that group, as noted above.

    It seems the owners have a much easier task of dividing their opposition, namely, the split in player interests between the very few mega-salaries/service time cases, and the vast minimum levels/pre-arb to arb status. Even if the owners are split on some issues, how does the MLBPA exploit it?

    Even if congress alters the anti-trust protection, or the NCAA begins to affect MiLB, the owners can adjust. And both of those scenarios are unlikely and are years away.

    Unless there are a few owners with an absolute start date in mind, I’m afraid the work stoppage will feed itself well into the summer or beyond. That, or they really break the MLBPA fairly quickly.

  6. MK

    Sounds as though the players are not for competitive balance in the game. They want the big money teams to have carte blanch to spend as much money as they wish as long as the players benefit.

    • Doug Gray

      The players want to reduce revenue sharing so teams have to actually try and win baseball games to make money instead of just accepting money from the Dodgers and Yankees and Red Sox to make money. I think you’ve got the idea backwards on what the players are for.

      • Chris

        With all due respect, that’s just not true. If what you say above is actually true, you would see the players completely focused on a minimum team salary threshold, but they aren’t really focused on that. The players are doing what most unions do. And if you disagree, please tell us how reduced revenue sharing forces bad teams to actually try. No matter how low or high the revenue sharing is, bad teams still have the incentive to not win. One has nothing to do with the other.

      • BK

        Yes, that’s MLBPA’s talking point. They have mis-diagnosed the problem. Current revenue sharing falls well short of putting the smaller market teams at anything close to parity from a payroll perspective. In fairness, from the outside looking in, I would agree it’s likely the Pirates, Orioles, and Marlins have received revenue sharing dollars and not spent them on payroll in a given season. I will simply point out we don’t see this happen in the other pro sports leagues. For example, in the NBA this season 29 of 30 teams have spent over their first tax threshold or are residing right below the threshold–even the teams one might say are tanking. I would also point out that at their trade deadline teams in the bottom third of the standings took on payroll/traded draft picks for more proven free agents to increase their chances of getting into the playoffs. In short even their bad teams are competing!

        The reality is that most of the small market teams in MLB have been driven out of the top end of the free agent market by the larger market teams and MLBPA’s goal of setting contract records on a nearly annual basis. Case in point, following the 2020 season, mlbtraderumor.com predicted Trevor Bauer would earn (4 years at $128M, $32M AAV). He signed for three years at $40M (2021), $45M (2022) and $17M in 2023 with the ability to opt out after 2022. So, he essentially signed a 2-year contract at an AAV of $42.5M or more than $10M over what an expert journalist predicted. Why? The Dodgers exerted their financial muscle offering a well above market rate contract. MLBPA is fine with the Dodgers doing this. They want the top free agents to set new market highs and for small market teams to dutifully pivot to a player like Tanner Rourk, a guy that hit the free agent market as a dependable veteran innings eater likely to produce 2.0 to 2.5 WAR each year. This may not be as attractive to a team which, through advanced analytics, believes it will win 78 games by adding Rourk and 76 games without him while losing flexibility by tying up future payroll dollars. There’s a set of unresolved grievances on this issue, so I think we can agree the Owners and MLBPA see this issue differently.

        To correct this, the CBT has to come down (closer to where every team can at least approach it) or you need a Salary Floor that requires teams to spend. MLBPA reportedly opposes both options.

      • AllTheHype

        Nice work BK….Expert analysis this site has been lacking. I’d much rather read your take than the article itself.

      • Stock

        Doug I would shoot down your statement that winning baseball games is a way to make money. Most revenue is from 20 year or more television contracts which are locked in regardless of wins or losses. The revenue from these contracts are based upon market size. The second largest source of revenue is from gate receipts. Tampa Bay had more wins than any team in the AL yet they finished 28th out of 30 teams in attendance. Oakland contends year after year and they finished 29th in attendance.

        Conversely, Texas finished with the third worst record in baseball but still finished in the top 5 in attendance. Colorado always stinks and they finished 7th in attendance.

        In short Winning does not drive revenue. Location drives revenue. It is a simple fact.

      • Stock

        Reducing revenue sharing would mean small market teams need a lower payroll to break even. The Rays have a great system but if you took away their revenue sharing funds they would be losing money. As a result they would need to trade players in year 4 and would quickly join Baltimore at the bottom of the division year after year. Also it would drive down player salaries because the Rays payroll would drop by whatever they give up in revenue sharing.

      • Redsvol

        the players want as much money pumped into their pockets as possible. They see the way to do this by taking the handcuffs off the Dodgers and Yankees and Red Sox. They don’t care one bit about competitive balance or what’s good for the game. That was made clear during the steroid era and its made clear during this CBA negotiation.

        The players side fights every change that could make the game more interesting and exciting and instead focus only on removing constraints that make the smaller market teams have a chance – arbitration clock, arbitration age limit, draft pick compensation, tax threshold, # of teams in playoffs, etc.. All while the top players make more and more bloated and guaranteed contracts. Their rank and file ought to raise cane!

      • Matt WI

        Inclined to agree that the players don’t feel strongly about competitve balance. If they want the cuffs off the big spenders, that seems to say they are just fine with talent inequity as long as big contracts are there to get.

        Pushing for a floor seems like it would help more players get paid better. I’m all for the idea of making teams try harder, but I don’t know that cutting revenue sharing will accomplish that. Couldn’t/Wouldn’t the Pirates just go cheaper? Floors would stop that. Revenue sharing at least starts to address the inequity of the regional/team owned tv money.

  7. BK

    Doug, why do the players have an issue with the number of times a player is optioned to the minors during a season? Too much turmoil? Just trying to understand the problem trying to be addressed.

  8. Pennsylvania Red

    There is a “for the good of the game” perspective that is not being addressed, and is a good reason fans should be at the table in some fashion. Greedy players and greedier owners, of course, are only looking out for their self-interests. My biggest fear with all this posturing is that the gap will widen between the have-teams and the have-nots. The game is too strong to kill, but they are sure trying. As a serious fan, I “left baseball” for a couple years after the last lockout/strike, and a repeat might just end it for me.

    • Chris

      I agree with your point, “for the good of the game”, but I’m not sure I get the accusation of “greedier” owners. Greedy owners would normally imply that their workers are underpaid. Who among us would ever suggest that the players are underpaid? In fact, I think the argument could be made that many players are making more money, annually than a legitimate segment of the owners. Many of the owners aren’t even making money, unless they actually sell their teams.

      • David

        I think “greedy” is probably not quite the right adjective to apply here.

        There is avarice on both sides. Not bad for a 23-25 year old who makes it to the ML making $500-600K a year. Show of hands here; how many of you make $500-600K a year? Not many, not many. And many got a bonus for signing, when drafted.
        Of course, none of us commenters have a God-given gift to play baseball at that skill level. So, we watch. We pay and watch to be entertained. So….when does this stop being entertainment? When do we stop paying?
        And owners making millions of dollars a year on each franchise, with most stadiums owned by cities, paid for by taxpayers, and leased (with friendly terms) to “owners”.
        After a while, the whole specter of how “fans” are kind of …abused by the players and owners….and this whole floating crap game of professional sports, this time baseball in particular, kind of turns me off.
        We are going to lose seeing a good part of this season, because the PLAYERS AND OWNERS can’t come up with a plan to make this work.
        I feel very tired of this.

      • greenmtred

        The vast–vast–majority of players have short careers and don’t touch the enormous contracts that the small number of stars are awarded. In order to even get good enough to have a cup of MLB coffee, a player has to devote most of his young life to the game. The idea that the owners take all of the risk is firmly routed in Marie Antoinette’s faulty perspective. Each side is clearly trying to maximize its own financial position and, while this is understandable, it doesn’t address the fans’ concerns about what ails the game.

      • old-school

        Oh no, When @GMR starts getting pessimistic and cynical, we are truly in a bad spot.

      • greenmtred

        Sarcasm I assume, old-school? I’ve been pessimistic and cynical since before the words were devised.

      • old-school

        N0- I thought you always gave a glass half full mindset or at least consider another option that the sky isnt falling perspective.

      • greenmtred

        Thanks for the vote of confidence, old-school. These are the times that try men’s souls.

      • Amarillo

        Minor Leaguers are underpaid even when compared to restaurant employees. Pre-Arb players are underpaid in comparison to sports leagues at large. The issue is that the MLBPA isn’t fighting for the underpaid players. They just want the vets to get an even larger slice of the pie.
        Basically, both sides are incredibly greedy, and they aren’t trying to fix the very real problems.

  9. Alex

    To reflect big Bobs politics back at him, why do small market owners need more revenue sharing to compete? Can’t they pick themselves up by the bootstraps and compete like big Bob did when he took over daddy’s company lol. All in jest of course.
    Anywho, actually some good commentary here highlighting the cap/floor issues and the owners do have some points. I’d have even more sympathy for the owners if they financed their own stadiums, but alas, they do not.

    My sympathy for players resides in the fact that it’s not “a game they get the privilege to play”. It’s more like, a highly specialized $10 billion entertainment field where the work force is very competitive and can come from anywhere in the world. Making a major league roster has the same odds as being struck by lightening. Playing past 30 is even less likely. I think some of the skewed thinking comes from the fact ppl forget these guys are done earning money in baseball at 28, not 68, like me at my job. Color me 100% in support of a much higher floor for new and young players. Unfortunately, the union seems to pay only lipservice to the bottom level players and really trying to get as much for the top. Maybe they’ll sacrifice the salary cap ceiling for the floor in the negotiations. Seems like wishful thinking tho.

    • David

      A salary floor for each team is not what the MLBPA wants, as you note.

      There are a lot of things that could be done to improve competitive parity between teams and across the leagues. That’s what a lot of fans want, because they see that their team does not have much of a chance to be competitive.
      But that is not what the players or a lot of the owners seem to want.
      At this point, I am not sure what they want at all, except….”More”. More money for the elite 50-60 players that get big multiyear contracts.
      The owners want MORE MONEY. They all want MORE MONEY.
      What do the fans want? We want to watch baseball.
      Guess what? We lose.

    • Chris

      Alex, a few comments in respect to your sympathy for the players. The average age of a player based on team averages is 30 for the oldest team, and 27 for the youngest team; 28.5 seems to be about average league wide. In 2007 U of CO did a study showing the average length of a career is 5.6 years, and that covers 1903 to 1993. My guess is a career lasts even longer now, but I can’t confirm. Consider that five years earns a player over $3 mil at league minimum. I’m not sure these guys are hurting a whole bunch. Also, it’s not like they don’t have huge opportunities when they leave the game. Many have college education, and their name alone puts them in an advantageous opportunity for future employment in the “real world”. I don’t begrudge MLB’s union for getting what they can, but I’m just troubled with the whoa is me attitude that the players seem to portray.

      As for stadium ownership. The cities are making a lot of money off of these stadiums with leases for a whole host of things all year long; not to mention the taxes generated from the baseball teams, and the other uses of the stadiums. No city is losing when purchasing stadiums. Just ask San Diego how they feel about letting the Chargers walk, because they chose to play hardball early on, and then changed their mind, but it was too late by then. By the way, I hate the Chargers for leaving, and always will, but that’s a different topic. 🙂

      • greenmtred

        Lots of players–at both ends–aren’t described by “average.” To be clear, I know perfectly well that they make more than I do. The law of supply and demand applies: Players good enough to make MLB are rare. You may be overstating the advantages a 28-year-old former player enjoys: some may, some do, but endorsements and lucrative job offers would not be the norm for a 2 or 3 year journeyman who has few skills beyond the one that nobody wants to compensate him for going forward. I’ve seen studies–and I apologize for not being able to cite them–that cast serious doubt on the value to a city of having a major league sports franchise and publicly-funded stadium. The owners are wealthy men whom few would pay anything to watch doing anything. Woe is me may be a poor posture for the players, but it suits them better than it does the owners. They’re collectively–owners and players–going to ruin what’s left of the game, and I wonder if anybody younger than 60 is going to care.

  10. Steven Duncan

    Honest question why don’t the sides (this season) and going forward agree to binding arbitration (neutral third party) if they don’t have a deal in place by a certain time. This will take a delayed season off the table. Don’t see why wither side would be against this.

    • Stock

      Their position is too important to risk with arbitration.

      • Steven D

        Make your case and put it on the arbitrator to be fair. Your telling me a defendant facing a death penalty case doesn’t have a lot to risk in taking a plea deal or going to trial. Deadlines force negotiations. And if one side is unreasonable then it’ll show in arbitration.

      • greenmtred

        After arbitration, regardless of its outcome, the owners would still be wealthy and the players would still be paid–some of them quite handsomely. The game itself may be too important to not go to arbitration, since it seems clear that the fools won’t settle this without shortening the season and making spectacles of themselves and, in the process, further alienating the fans and eroding the future good will the game needs.

    • BK

      The process is governed by federal labor law which expects both sides to negotiate in good faith. Bringing an arbitrator into the process at a pre-determined time could encourage one or both sides to avoid making their best offers in hopes the arbitrator ruling would be in their favor (i.e., arbitrators are perceived to split the difference). In effect, it would undermine the collective bargaining process. You’ll note when players take the salary case before an arbitrator, the arbitrator must pick either the Club’s proposed salary or the Player’s proposed salary–splitting the difference is not allowed.

      • Steven Duncan

        You can make the bargaining process confidential. And take it a step further and make them Inadmissible in the arbitration process. Just like plea deals in a criminal justice trials are
        Inadmissible you could negotiate that any bargaining done would be inadmissible in a arbitration proceeding.

  11. old-school

    Well at this point, its looking like April is going to be impacted and a high likelihood of not playing a 162 game schedule.

    Considering the Reds play 11 games on the road the first 3 weeks of April @ Atl /@ LAD and @SDP- that could be a big factor if those west coast road games are cancelled.

  12. Tom Reeves

    I think it’s always interesting that people can accuse the owners and players of being greedy but we never consider that we, the fans, are also greedy. We want a winning team. Most of us want games on TV and ratio for little to no costs and not too many commercials. Many of us complain about the cost of attending the games and definitely paying for the MLB app. Of course, we don’t consider ourselves greedy because we know our own intentions and our attentions are pure.

    But we don’t know the intentions of the players or the owners. We project our viewpoints on them but we don’t know if anyone is greedy. It’s easy to lobby that charge. And it’s lazy.

    • Amarillo

      I think it’s fair for the consumer to be greedy. If I am buying a vacuum cleaner, and it doesn’t have a HEPA filter, there is no chance I am going to purchase it. Not all vacuum cleaners have HEPA filters, but if yours doesn’t have this specific feature, I’m not doing business with you. Am I being greedy about requiring specific features? Probably, but I have allergies so I’m not going to apologize for it.

  13. Amarillo

    I’m strongly on the side of labor in general. The difference in wealth is just unfathomable. However, I don’t really consider these veteran players who are arguing for the MLBPA side to be “labor”.
    Pre-Arb players are underpaid relative to young players in other leagues. Minor league players are underpaid relative to the federal minimum wage. If we lose games, guess who loses their jobs? The stadium staff, ushers, concessions workers, security guards, the travel helpers, charter airplane pilots. I could go on and on. These people are the labor. These are the people that we need to support.

    Does the MLBPA fight for the minor leaguers and pre-arb players? Nope, not really. They say they want more competitive balance, but if you look at the specific asks, it will just widen that lack of parity we already have. I could write a book about how “teams should spend more money to try to win” doesn’t mean they will win. The Phillies spend huge amounts and lose. The Rays spend nothing and win. It’s a competition, and rate of pay is only tangential, at best, to winning.

    • Doug Gray

      (Not) Fun Fact: The MLB Players can’t actually fight for the minor leaguers without the owners agreeing to it, which they won’t. And even if they wanted to add them to the union, it’s a process that would take years and years to do. They should start the process off adding them, of course, but right now there’s very little that they can actually do from a legal standpoint to fight for the minor leaguers.

      And they are fighting for pre-arb players. They’ve asked for a $775,000 minimum salary, earlier arbitration, earlier free agency, and a large bonus pool for the top pre-arb players that would add an average of $3M a year for those players.

      • Amarillo

        Right, those are currently asks. Unfortunately, in past CBA negotiations those are the asks they have ultimately come down on in order to get a deal done. As an example, they came off of the “every player is a super 2” ask in order to eliminate type A/B free agent compensation. We’ll see if this time is different. Like I said, I’m on the side of the players, but I look at the specific asks and realize that the Reds would be hurt if the players receive everything they wish, so it’s tough for me.

      • BK

        The CBA contains multiple examples of items that affect minor league players:
        – Rule 4 Draft to include rules and bonus pools
        – International Free Agency rules and bonus pools (an International Draft has been discussed)
        – Roster limits of minor leaguers

        Why is revenue sharing (i.e., the money exchanged between franchises) negotiable in the CBA? Think about it, the players actually have a say on how the Owners move money between themselves). Because the Owners agreed to include this in the CBA to achieve a larger goal.

        MLBPA simply has to prioritize (and likely be willing to make a tradeoff) to ask for improvements to minor leaguers. It’s simply not enough of an MLBPA priority.