Major League Baseball’s self-imposed “deadline” for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement came and went on Monday, but it wasn’t due to a lack of effort (on Monday, that is). After basically doing nothing for months, the ownership side showed up willing to actually negotiate on “the final day”.  Meetings between the two sides were long – lasting beyond 2am when this specific writer decided it was time to try and get some sleep.

Talks will resume at 10am for the players congregation and then at 11am the owners will join them according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN.

There were a few things that made some movement on Monday. The owners gave in a lot on the luxury tax penalties, and a bit on the threshold number itself. The penalties for going over the threshold appear that they will remain what they had been in the previous CBA. That’s good from where the players stand. What isn’t quite settled is the threshold number. Evan Drellich of The Athletic reported that the owners offer began at $220M per year for the first three years, then jumped up to $224M in year four, and then to $230M in year five.

The players have reportedly are willing to drop their request for an expansion of super two eligible players. They’ve also agreed to expanding playoffs to 12 teams, and it appears that the owners have agreed to that as well after seeking an expansion to 14 teams.

There are still other things on the table that need to be figured out. The minimum salary is still a bit apart between the two sides. The pre-arbitration bonus pool amount is still an area that has a gap that needs to be closed with the last offer from the owners being $25M.

The owners are also trying to implement an international draft. For the players that is a pretty large bargaining chip. It may be the last one that they have after agreeing to an expanded playoff.

One interesting wrinkle from the morning comes from Jon Heyman (his trustworthiness…. well, your mileage may vary):

Read that how you will, but it doesn’t paint a good picture for any of those four ownership groups from where I’m standing.

28 Responses

  1. LDS

    Giving odds of a resolution today? I’m still not particularly optimistic.

    • Mark Moore

      Same. It may not stretch out to my original pessimistic over/under of July 4th, but I’m still seeing too many gaps from what I read.

      • Colorado Red

        Do not think MLB moves much till the all star game is in jeopardy.
        So, I think you are correct,
        If by then the whole season may be gone.

  2. old-school

    I think they get it done.
    They’ve come too far to walk away now and they ‘ve also come too far to postpone Opening Day. May be they get expanded rosters for the first few weeks or something.

  3. BK

    It’s not uncommon to resolve grievances as part of a CBA. If the grievance was a slam-dunk for either side, it would likely already be settled by year 4.

  4. ClevelandRedsFan

    I agree with Mark. It sounds like they will get it done. Mutual destruction is a powerful motivator.

    Aside from the ridiculous negotiations, I’m pretty pumped for some of the actual baseball related changes.

    The draft lottery and expanded playoffs will help the Reds. Most years, Reds are usually a 70-90 win team. That gives them a shot at getting higher draft picks and sneaking into expanded playoffs.

    Mediocrity just got more fun!

    • Mark Moore

      I still think there may be some delay or shuffling of the schedule, but it appears progress is finally being made.

      I still think the whole thing needs a revocation of anti-trust, but what do I know?

      I may wrangle a trip to Cincy if things get straightened out. Thank goodness my MLB.tv plan is covered by my phone provider (for now). That saves me a few $$.

      • BK

        MLB’s anti-trust exemption does NOT apply to labor negotiations, per the Curt Flood Act of 1998. I’ve cited a paragraph from the law and provided the link to the full law below.

        “It is the purpose of this legislation to state that major league
        baseball players are covered under the antitrust laws (i.e., that major
        league baseball players will have the same rights under the antitrust
        laws as do other professional athletes, e.g., football and basketball
        players), along with a provision that makes it clear that the passage of
        this Act does not change the application of the antitrust laws in any
        other context or with respect to any other person or entity.”

        https://www.congress.gov/bill/105th-congress/senate-bill/53/text

      • LDS

        Absolutely revoke the anti-trust protection.

      • Mark Moore

        BK – I’m talking about it in general, not with regard to the labor negotiations. I just think it’s well past time for it to go away.

      • BK

        Wouldn’t disagree. Hard to justify when other large sports leagues don’t have it. That said, I really doubt it’s anywhere at all on the radar for Congress … just kind of a law that’s outlived its utility but remains on the books.

      • Old Big Ed

        Without having studied the nuances of it, I feel that the Rule 4 draft and the proposed international draft have antitrust problems, because (1) the drafts restrict the market for newly professional players, and (2) the drafts’ purposes are to lessen costs to the teams and to ensure that the existing MLBPA members’ wages are not depressed by money being paid to draftees. I’m not sure how baseball’s drafts should be the subject of collective bargaining.

        The NFL and NBA drafts are collectively bargained, which as I understand it can protect that activity from an antitrust challenge. But the NFL and NBA are overwhelmingly drafting players to play immediately in the NBA and NFL, so the draftees are instantly covered by the CBAs. Baseball players virtually never get put on the 40-man when they sign, and hence are not part of the MLBPA.

    • JayTheRed

      I’m glad playoffs are not going to 14 teams. That is just too many. Almost have the teams would make it to the playoffs. Yuck.

      I am ok with a 12 team playoffs system.

  5. SultanofSwaff

    Assuming they come to an agreement soon, front offices are going to be under the gun to juggle multiple priorities in a very small window of time. They’re going to have to evaluate returning players and their health/conditioning (i.e. Senzel), fill obvious needs in free agency, rule 5 draft, and keep tabs on the trade market for opportunities that would’ve normally taken months to bear fruit. I suspect there’s a ton of handshake agreements already in place.

    • Optimist

      All true, but that’s really what a front office is paid to do. Alas, we’ll find out soon enough the rankings on that list.

      • vegastypo

        That is what they are paid to do, yes, but some do it much better than others. And I don’t trust the Reds’ front office in a normal timeframe, much less having to do things in a rush.

  6. Rednat

    i like the idea of an international draft for sure! that could be a big game changer for the reds. not having an international draft in baseball is like the nfl excluding the sec from their draft. it would really even the playing field.

  7. Optimist

    I was less optimistic than an Optimist usually is, but it seems they actually may be closing in on a deal. All the obvious qualifiers – trustworthy media, 24 hour rule, etc., – but reports indicate they’ve narrowed the list of open issues, they’re narrowing the differences on that list, both sides understand the time constraint/readiness timetables for a 154-162 game schedule w/ sufficient spring training, and so on.

    My only hope is the MLBPA leans toward the higher minimum salary rather than maximizing best FA offers. That, and still need to raise the abysmal floor in MiLB – and appreciate Doug and others tooting that horn!

  8. old-school

    Evan Drellich Athletic is reporting gaps between proposals remain significant with public animosity over the last few hours. Players are reviewing final offer from MLB.
    High drama.

  9. Hanawi

    Looks like the deal is dead in the water and players are leaving Florida. Will they get games going by May 1st might be the next question.

  10. SteveO

    Doug, now that a deal has not been struck, the next best thing is watching the minor leaguers. Do you have any info on a minor league spring training schedule? And will you be in Goodyear? We have some really good prospects that are not on the 40-man roster and I’m wondering if they will be able to play at Goodyear Ballpark instead of the back fields.

  11. Colorado Red

    Looks like the optimism is for naught.
    The MLBPA REJECT the bafo from the league.
    May be a long hot summer for the fans.

    • Indyred

      How many fans are going to be left though? They screwed up 2020 because they couldn’t agree on covid protocols and now one full season later they’re going to miss and cancel more games.

      • LDS

        IMO, the outcome that Manfred and the owners wanted from the outset. It is time that the fans make their voices heard. Cancel your sports packages, don’t buy tickets, skip logo gear, etc. until such time as the owners start taking the game seriously and not just another way to fleece the public and line their pockets. I can’t remember the last time I thought a commissioner was actually interested in the state of the game. Maybe all the way back to Bowie Kuhn. Certainly not Manfred nor Selig.

      • Mark Moore

        LDS,

        I’m with you on the last Commish to give a white rat’s hiney about the actual game. Kuhn was certainly flawed, but he was far from the ownership lapdog we have now.

  12. Mark Moore

    To quote from that wonderful movie “The Jerk” …

    “Put his place setting away. It just makes me too $#%! sad.”

    I guess I’m back to my pessimistic July 4th over/under … for now.

  13. Indyred

    100% what owners wanted. Been locked out for almost three full months before you actually start negotiating, all in the last week? What were you doing the other two and a half months? Planning on how you can save money on regular season salaries to make your billion dollar pockets a little fatter? Owners do not care about fans at all, as long as they get their playoff money.