On Saturday the Major League Baseball Players Association and the representatives for the owners met again in Florida to try and come to a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement. The owners have instituted a lockout since December 1st, halting any and all things related to Major League Baseball until a new deal can be reached – something that they did not have to do. The 1995 and 1996 seasons were both played without a new CBA being agreed to.

With a self-imposed deadline of Monday for a new agreement to take place before the owners have said they will begin cancelling regular season games, the two sides have had meetings every day this week and on some days multiple meetings. Additional players and owners have shown up in Florida for these meetings.

Things did not go well on Saturday afternoon. The players made a new offer that saw the drop their ask for 75% of players with 2-3 years of service time be arbitration eligible down to 35% (in the last CBA it was 22%). According to Evan Drellich of The Athletic, the owners reacted badly to the proposal, which left the players outraged.

The two sides remain very far apart on the luxury tax threshold, as well as the penalties related to the threshold, as well as the minimum salary in the league and bonus pool to the top pre-abritration players.

Update at 8:20pm ET

Evan Drellich has initially reported that as of 6:30pm ET there was no scheduled meeting for Sunday. But Michael Silverman of the Boston Globe reported at 8:20pm ET that the two sides have agreed to a meeting for Sunday. He also said that the players were not sure if they wanted to resume talks based on how poorly things went earlier on Saturday.

38 Responses

  1. Pennsylvania Red

    I’ve been a die hard fan since the mid-1950s. Greedy players and greedier owners will eventually be losing too much $$ to continue this farce. But I fear it will leave us with something short of baseball. The gap between the have and have-not teams will have widened (and it’s already far too wide). And the circus at the end of the season will have fully become a tournament, not a play-off, and mean nothing. After the fiasco of the 81, I left baseball for 2 years. This time, I may not be back.

    • west larry

      I too, have been a reds fan since the mid 1950’s. That only makes us older, not smarter, then our” wet behind the ears “fans. I too, after the 1981 fan all but quit following the game for several years. I would not attend games, watch them on tv, or listen to them on radio. I did, however, follow the box scores in the newspapers. I guess that i will be once again, looking at box scores. I hope it doesn’t come to that.

  2. Frankie Tomatoes

    It’s going to be a long time until we see Major League Baseball games.

    • Rut

      I agree. Also, with respect, hard to say any aspect of this isan “outrage” given world events.

      Absurd, predictable, self defeating, and then some, but can’t quite get to outrage even if they cancel regular season games.

      • TR

        You are correct regarding world events.

      • VADA

        I’ve been a fan since early 60s. Amazing how Ukrainians are fighting for their lives while our (spoiled) baseball players are fighting for every bit of food on a bone they can get. Does anyone know how many active baseball players actually risked THEIR lives for their country? Oh, yea, I forgot, they’re too busy with their multi-million dollar investments to think about their country or fans. How long do these narcissists expect the fans to have hope in a GREEDY union? My grip is getting weaker by the day, soon to be by the hour.

  3. stock

    At the end of the day the players proposal was laughable. The owners care about revenue coming in and total amount spent for salaries. Addressing an allocation issue while important is not in the top 2.

    • Colorado Red

      Why is it laughable.
      Revenue is going up, and avg salary is dropping.
      The players want to address that.
      Seams reasonable to me.

  4. Magnum 44

    I’m a diehard Reds fan for 44 years my Fandom has lasted through multiple strikes, but I am so sick of the disparity between small and large market teams I just don’t care anymore. All I know is this lockout will end I will pay attention to the Reds get on this site and complain about Castellini or how big of a moron David Bell is, but I know the Reds will never make real noise I just hope they keep it interesting till pre season football starts.

    • Rednat

      i tend to agree Magnum. living in cincinnati nearly my entire life I have always felt the town was a baseball/college basketball city. the bengals just provided a little entertainment between when the reds season was over and college basketball really got into the swing of things. And UC football. forget. never really on the radar.

      now with our reds season in limbo and UC and xu stinking it up in basketball, Cincinnati has become a college football/Bnegals town indeed

      • CI3J

        It’s been really strange seeing Cincinnati morph into a bright star in the national football constellation. When was the last time a city had both a college football team AND NFL team both make it to the playoffs/championship game in the same season? It can’t have happened very often, given how few cities have both a college football powerhouse and NFL team.

      • TR

        And can you believe how popular nationally the Bengals have suddenly become. They seem, for the time being, the main challenger to the Cowboys as the country’s favorite NFL team.

  5. Stock

    Everyone know the players are using the 14 team playoff as a bargaining chip. So lets assume at the end of the day there will be a 14 team playoff.

    The thing that should be discussed is the luxury tax.

  6. Hotto4Votto

    I get that everyone’s picked their side and there’s little discussion on here that will change that. To me, this is the first actual instance of bargaining in “good faith” that I’ve seen. So far both sides have essentially nickel and dime’d their concessions. This current offer from the players is actually significant in the amount of decrease from their initial and recent stances. That the owners acted badly toward the proposal should make the players outraged. The owners are the ones who locked out the players. The owners are the ones who set an arbitrary date to “not lose games” (ie game checks for players). The players have come to the table and offered real concessions on some of their asking and the owners essentially spit on that offer. I’d be very frustrated if I were the players.

    • Colorado Red

      This has been the story of the whole negotiation so far.
      In the past I have supported the owners, but no more.
      The tax threshold and penalty are jokes.
      They refuse to make any changes to service time manipulation.
      With inflation, the minimum salary (proposed) is less then is was after the last cba
      The avg salary has gone down, since the start of the last CBA (This is the real sticking point). Looking at the braves, revenue has gone way up.
      I at one time was optimistic, Now we may not see MLB this year.

    • Stock

      I agree with you Hotto that on the surface this looks like the players are making huge concessions. However, if you read between the lines my thought is it doesn’t do anything.

      Example: Dodgers (I choose them because of Wil Smith)

      Right now these teams budget for $210 million in salary. The players want to increase the luxery cap 17% (a nice raise).

      Before these concessions for players with 2.25 – 2.65 years of experience were elgible for arbitration. This means Will Smith is eligible for Arbitration in this format.

      I am making assumptions on # of players in each category at this point.

      1. Players with less than 2.25 years experience (6)
      2. Players with 2.25 – 2.78 years of experience (Will Smith)
      3. Players with 2.78 – 6 years of experience (7)
      4. Players with 6+ years experience (12)

      Dodgers budget by category:

      1. $4.5 million
      2. $5.0 million (just a guess because the actual number does not matter)
      3. $50 million (just a guess)
      4. $385 million

      Total budget: $244.5 million

      1. $4.5 million
      2. $1.0 million
      3. $50 million (just a guess)
      4. $389 million

      Total budget: $244.5 million

      The Dodgers don’t care if Will Smith makes $4 million more or they spend that extra $4 million on a FA. All they care about is the last number.

      Likewise any team with a budget under $200 million for example the Rays. Their budget seems to be about $60 million. The allocation does not matter. $60 million is their budget.

      My point is this move by the players isn’t really a big move at all. Even though on the surface it appears to be a big move.

  7. CFD3000

    Regardless of whether you think the owners are way too stingy, or the players are just too greedy, this is a discouraging development. They are arguing over how to split a really delicious pie, but by the time they’ve agreed both sides will still be really unhappy and the pie will be moldy. It’s embarrassing how little regard either side seems to have (despite what the owners say) for their responsibilities as stewards of the national pastime. And as much as the game depends on the players, the money it generates depends in the end entirely on the fans. We fans bake that pie. Get it done. #Play162

      • Jimbo44CN

        Yep, both sides are ignoring and teeing off the most important part of their game, and that’s the fans. Once they are outraged by the millionaires vs the billionaires, they will take their money and go elsewhere.

  8. Old-school

    FWIW- Jon heyman tweeted they are I n striking distance and could have a deal done by tomorrow night.

    That would be an unexpected turn of events.

    • Doug Gray

      FWIW almost everyone else alive, reporters and players, are saying that no they are not.

      Heyman’s report feels like owners leaking information to try and get fans excited, so then when a deal isn’t struck fans get even more mad at the players.

      • Mark Moore

        Got to love a completely unreliable source that is essentially embedded in the MLB camp. It’s manipulation, pure and simple.

        No deal is getting done. The staring contest continues.

        And, from my perspective, Manfred is a complete tool. He’s allowing the owners to run the ship aground, sideways in the Suez Canal. Wait … that was a different headline. My bad.

      • BK

        That’s an interesting take … survey at the Athletic (granted not scientific) showed support was overwhelming on the side of the players (well over 90 percent).

        That said, I do see them as far apart and there is clearly a good bit of animosity and mistrust going in both directions that will make an agreement all the more difficult.

      • Doug Gray

        People who subscribe to The Athletic are not at all representative of the average fan, though. Just like the people that post comments here are not. The people who are looking for an outlet online beyond just twitter/facebook are the hardcore. They are *generally* going to be more informed because the sport/team is more important to them. I can certainly believe that people willing to pay money to read about sports would have a better idea of what’s going on and thus be on the side of the players, but hanging out other places where anyone with an internet connection has a say – it’s still pretty heavy sided with the owners. Of course, it’s nothing like it was back in the day when the information was far tougher to come by and you just had a bunch of old legacy media working PR for the owners in every newspaper on the planet.

      • Old-school

        Fwiw

        Adam schefter blew a marvin lewis story a few years back and lost his credibility

        Maybe Heyman loses his- but he tweeted what he tweeted

      • Chris

        Doug, I’m just wondering. Based on your comments, it seems as though you believe a really informed fan, is typically going to side with the players. I really don’t understand that line of logic. I’m personally not on either side; I just want the game to be played, because I love it. With that said, just a simple question for you. The players biggest grievance if you will, is on luxury tax and top payroll levels. As fans who are informed that love the game, how in the world can you support increasing the payrolls while lowering the luxury tax? Is it the SO-CALLED informed fan that wants to see even less disparity between the teams, because that is what you will get if the players get what they want here. Just curious.

      • Doug Gray

        I don’t support increasing payrolls and lowering the luxury tax. I support increasing payrolls AND increasing the luxury tax threshold. Every single team should be spending more money on payroll than they are currently spending. The money IS there. The players are trying to raise the minimum, which would in theory raise payrolls across the league (though not by much), raise the number of players eligible for Super 2 (arbitration), which also wouldn’t be a big raise to payrolls across the league but would do so a little bit, AND raise the luxury tax number. In total, most teams under these scenarios would see their payroll rise by $3-10M over what they would otherwise pay. The handful of teams that spend near the current luxury tax threshold would be able to spend a little more IF they chose to.

        Revenue in baseball has exploded and less of that money is going towards pay for the players.

        The players have also tried, with massive resistance from the owners, to limit the amount of revenue sharing going on. When teams don’t have to try to win to make money….. well, you get the Pittsburgh and Cleveland situations where they can run payrolls out there around $50M despite beginning every season with over $100M before they do a single thing on the field. The players want to try and make it so teams have to attempt to win. The owners have fought against that.

      • BK

        “Revenue in baseball has exploded and less of that money is going towards pay for the players.”

        Notice the chart stops in 2019, pre COVID. Collectively, the teams lost about $3B in 2020, and aside from the Braves, data from 2021 season. Although not catastrophic, the $3B loss was significant. If displayed, it would show the red line on the graph dropping by two bars. Stopping the chart prior to the pandemic is misleading and factually inaccurate. Note: Doug didn’t make the chart, so this is not a shot at him.

        “When teams don’t have to try to win to make money….. well, you get the Pittsburgh and Cleveland situations where they can run payrolls out there around $50M despite beginning every season with over $100M before they do a single thing on the field.”

        This statement inaccurately identifies cause and effect. Cleveland had payrolls of $144M and $157M in 2018 and 2019 and had payrolls exceeding $100M since 2014. What changed? After fielding competitive teams for multiple seasons, their roster became unaffordable based on their market size. When they had a competitive team they spent the money to stay competitive, making at best a modest profit during those years.

        All teams in all pro sports go through cycles of competitiveness to some extent. In MLB, the smaller the market, the more the team has to align its payroll with talent. Larger market teams have much more flexibility to plug holes in their rosters and dampen the valleys in their competitive cycles. The idea that pulling more resources away from teams that are already at a significant competitive advantage will lead them to spend more is an unproven theory at best.

        We just don’t see teams in other pro leagues “tank” in the same numbers as we do in MLB. In fact, they spend to or near their respective salary caps. Are owners in other leagues less greedy and of higher character than the ones that own MLB franchises? Why do all of the lowest payroll teams keep coming from the smaller market teams?

        If MLBPA really wants the current mechanisms in the CBA to work, they must get teams closer to resource parity and that will only happen by increasing revenue sharing.

      • Chris

        BK, you saved me a bunch of time both in research and typing. 🙂 You are spot on though. We often see small market teams spend a lot of money, but unlike larger market teams, they cannot continue to do that year after year, because their players price them out of the market. Mark my words, we will see this happen to the Padres in short order. They cannot afford to spend they way they are now, for long term. I also don’t know where Doug is getting his numbers from that suggest that every team starts with $100 mil. It seems that people often forget MLB team ownership is a business. Each owner and their minority owners expects a profit, no different than any other business. And once again, you don’t make money on an asset that you are sitting on; that’s NOT income.

    • Old-school

      My problem is I dont care about MLB or the players . I care about the cincinnati Reds winning. Blame BC all
      You want but when you pay Homer Bailey $125 mil and he bombs because of injuries and lose Mesoraco after signing a $38 million extension and sign Akiyama for $24 million and Moose $60 million and what the heck Eric Milton and these guys are guaranteed huge sums of money and dont perform due to injury or whatever- It absolutely is about big v small market

      The Dodgers lost Bauer and Kershaw and absorbed bad contracts and other injuries and just wrote a check to get Trae turner and Max Scherzer and Mookie Betts and just write 215 mil checks to undo the underperformance of some or injuries or unanticipated off the field stuff

      Reds cant do that nor can 15 other franchises

      Jeter quit today because he wont work for a franchise that has limited resources

      Its the haves and have nots and the Reds cant overcome that which big franchises can

  9. AMDG

    At some point the 2 sides will get a deal done and resume to playing baseball.

    But regardless of when that happens nothing fundamental for the Reds, or their fans, will change.

    The Reds will still continue to be a small market team, with no salary cap or revenue sharing (like in the NFL), perpetually placing them in a position where they are forced to punch above their weight to compete with teams buying up the best talent to hit free agency each year.

  10. James H.

    Make your voices heard. Cancel season tickets. Cancel all MLB related subscriptions, including news sources like ESPN.

    • Colorado Red

      Wish I could cancel ESPN.
      But it is in the basic cable package.
      Never watch it, but it does not matter.

  11. Tom Mitsoff

    It seems that the owners’ apparent interest is in coming up with some sort of structure that will work like a hard salary cap.

    Two questions:

    1) What do you folks think? Am I reading this right?
    2) What would be wrong with a salary cap? It works wonderfully for the NFL and the NBA. Both sports are flourishing and have players earning $30-plus million per year. I know it’s been a primary “absolutely-not” point for the players because some owners offer contracts like the Gerrit Cole contract.

    • Doug Gray

      That’s exactly what the owners want, but there are a lot of problems with the salary cap. Joe Sheehan had a few things in his newsletter today about this.

      “MLB players have always wanted competition for talent. in a capped system, players fight each other for a limited pool of money — that’s why the free-agent periods in the NBA and NFL are so frenzied. It’s Million Dollar Musical Chairs. MLB players have rejected that model, preferring that the owners compete for their talents, rather than the players compete for cash. ”

      This was from 10 years ago from Sheehan:
      The Pirates are the extreme, if inevitable, product of a system that has been put in place over the past 20 years, step by arduous step. The core problem is a revenue-sharing system that is designed not to level the playing field between teams in large and small markets, but to lower the returns on paying for players, and therefore the industry’s labor costs as a whole. MLB has never once entered a negotiation with the union with any goal other than lowering labor costs, and all proposals, from a payroll cap to a luxury tax to revenue sharing, have been proffered with that objective foremost in mind.

      This was from 20 years ago from Sheehan:

      “That’s an important distinction. Were the more accurate term ‘payroll cap’ used, the effects and intent of the tool would be more clear: to restrict the amount of money management can spend on labor. It’s an agreement among competitors to inhibit the labor market, lowering salaries.

      “A salary cap transfers wealth from labor to management.”

    • BK

      Tom, that’s a question few in the media will ask the players, “Why not adopt a model that more closely resembles your competitors in the NFL, NHL, and NBA?” All have a salary cap and defined shares of league revenues. More importantly, the structure of their contracts puts both the players and management on the same side in efforts to grow revenues and improve their games. I don’t follow the NHL, but the NBA and NFL are clearly flourishing and players are getting their share of the winnings.

      The truth is, MLBPA has long focused on the top-of-scale contracts and they have been immensely successful in that respect. That segment of players has continued to set new records for contracts in terms of total value and AAV even as the players as a whole have taken home a smaller percentage of revenues over the last several years. Likewise, it favors the highest revenue teams that have far more discretionary income than the smaller market teams–they have more resources to spend and can take on more risk than their competitors.

      The CBT level in MLB has worked like a soft salary cap–by this I mean teams have shown some reluctance to cross the line. However, even at its lowest level, it is much higher than the caps in both the NFL and NBA (keep in mind the NFL generates at least 30 percent more in annual revenues). The level is well above where it would be if the player and owners agreed to a 50/50 split in annual revenues.

      In those leagues, teams almost always spend to their respective salary cap. With the revenue sharing agreement between players and owners the players will always get their share of revenues even if for whatever reason a team(s) chose to slash payroll.

      • Chris

        BK, thanks for the rational reply. As it stands today, those who continue to blindly support the players in this so-called collective bargaining, are the same people that will throw fits over the horrible disparity between the teams in MLB. The fact is, you can’t have a true cap in MLB, because the players will not accept that, even though the other professional leagues have one. On the flip side, MLB owners will not create a true profit sharing amongst all teams like other sports leagues do, which pretty much kills the ability to have a true salary cap, that is constantly maximized (as in other leagues) by all teams. The whole thing is a mess, with two sides that have wholly different wants.

        People are quick to say the owners or players are greedy. I don’t really think so, in either case. I think both sided have greedy people involved, that are really and truly focused on those needs. In other words, the elite teams, and the elite players are driving everything, and that’s the biggest problem, and why these collective bargaining negotiations go no where.

  12. Vada

    It’s obvious that the majority of fans support the players. I just wonder if just ONE of these same fans heavily invested in ownership of a team how FAST their opinions would change. Owners and investors are GAMBLING on their business endeavor making profits for themselves and their share holders. Some fans have had an epiphany many years ago and have learned that “there IS life beyond baseball.” Take the plunge and see for yourself. Sooner or later it will become OBVIOUS that free agency has HIJACKED the game. I say, turn all ball parks into giant drive-in movie lots with JUMBO screens and streamed stereo audio. And let the spoiled players get a REAL JOB.