Major League Baseball owners continue to lock out the players until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached, keeping spring training from starting. Today is also their own self-imposed “deadline” in order to complete a deal and keep Opening Day on target. They have said that if a deal isn’t reached by the end of Monday that they will begin to cancel games and that they won’t be made up. There’s some question as to whether or not that actually have the ability to cancel games without the players approval, but that’s another topic for another day.
On Sunday the owners and the players representatives met all day. There were multiple meetings between the parties, as well as meetings with their own parties to discuss things before meeting up with the other side. Despite meetings all day long that included multiple back-and-forth discussions, neither side made any formal proposal to the other.
While you may have seen a tweet from Jon Heyman about the sides being close, you may have missed how he had to backtrack on it when a player called him out on that information and then Heyman stated “My source said it’s possible. Is he realistic? We shall see.”…… Talk about something of little value. Maybe see if your source is realistic before publishing what he’s telling you?
On Monday the two sides will get back to the table again. Evan Drellich of The Athletic reported that they will begin meeting at 10am ET. He also reported that the owners were willing to move up on the competitive balance tax (luxury tax) but it wouldn’t move very far from where it’s at now – $214M.
The luxury tax is probably the biggest issue between the two sides. The owners are basically trying to lower the number (when compared to the growth in revenue) while also making the penalties harsher than ever before for going over it.
Minimum salary is also an area where the two sides are still far apart on. The players also dropped their super 2 rate from 75% down to 35% on Saturday, but the owners have said that they will not budge on the 22% that the number has been in the past.
Expanded playoffs, though, is another sticking point of sorts. Both sides have seemingly agreed to expanding the playoffs beyond the current 10 teams. The players have offered 12 playoff spots, while the owners want 14 playoff spots and have tried tying that to minimally beneficial things to the players. The expanded playoffs are worth an estimated $100M a year to Major League Baseball.
We’ll all have to see how things go today, but after a week of meeting every single day, not a whole lot has actually been moved in the right direction between the two sides. The owners refuse to budge on multiple issues and have refused since the very beginning. The players have backed off some of those requests, but not all of them. How the two sides view the luxury tax issues seems like it’s night-and-day. Miracles do happen, but if a deal is going to be struck before the day is over it certainly feels like that’s what it’s going to have to take – a miracle.