On Thursday the Major League Baseball Players Association and the ownership representatives met for yet another meeting as they try to come to an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement. Currently the players are locked out by the owners and that’s preventing spring training from starting, free agency from continuing, and trades from happening. There are a lot of areas where the players and the owners are in disagreement – both in terms of what should be added to the new agreement as well as just how much money should go to who in things that they both seem to agree on.
One of the big things that the owners want is expanded playoffs. The reason is pretty simple – the owners make a killing on playoff games due to how much networks are willing to pay for a playoff game. Ownership is asking for 14 playoff spots, while the players have countered with 12….. but, on Thursday the players put an asterisk on that 12. They have told the owners that if the 2022 season isn’t 162 games then they won’t agree to 12 teams in the playoffs this year.
The idea here is that the players want a full season to happen and that they don’t really get some extra boost for playoffs, while the owners would actually make more money by having a shortened season but expanded playoffs. The players are attempting to put the pressure on the owners to get a deal done so they can benefit from those expanded playoffs this year and all of the additional money that comes with it.
Jeff Passan of ESPN reported last night that negotiation sessions are likely to ramp up in multiple ways. He’s reporting that starting as early as Monday that the two sides could begin having meetings every day and that some owners, as well as some players are expected to fly in and join the meetings that haven’t been there in the past.
With a weirdly identified “deadline to start the regular season on time” date of February 28th (something that the owners have said, but the players haven’t exactly agreed on), that gives the sides probably two-ish weeks to hammer out an agreement to get the regular season started on time and not have to find a way to either make up games or miss games entirely.