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):
MLB has suggested the union drop its 2018 grievance against the Rays, Marlins, A’s and Pirates for failing to spend its revenue sharing monies as part of a deal. If that’s happens it may somewhat appease 4 small market owners concerned about the coming luxury tax threshold rise.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 1, 2022
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.