Tuesday, May 24 2022
Rob Manfred in dugout gesturing 2021 playoffs

MLB owners commenced a lockout of the players following the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement on Dec. 1. Here is the latest on where things stand with the work stoppage…

Jan. 31, 3:59 p.m.

Despite MLB and the MLBPA meeting in person multiple times in recent weeks and both sides making what they view as concessions, a deal to end the lockout is not close, according to Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic.

Per the report, among the things holding up a potential deal are the minimum salary, arbitration rules, the luxury tax (players want it to be higher), the structure of the proposed MLB Draft lottery, and service-time manipulation.

Scott Boras, the most powerful agent in the sport, told The Athletic that the players want fairness.

And Boras also said that player salaries should be much higher due in part to the rising values of the franchises.

“History has told a story that the players now understand,” Boras said. “And the history is that, what you negotiate from is appreciation of franchise values and revenue increases . . . From the players’ perspective, it is about how successful this game is from those two perspectives. And they want fairness. Players want fairness in the success of the game.”

Per The Athletic, spring training — which is supposed to start in about two weeks — is likely to be delayed.

It is conceivable that Opening Day (scheduled for Mar. 31) could happen on time even if spring training is delayed, but it would likely have to start no later than the beginning of March to avoid lost regular season games.

Jan. 25, 1:38 p.m.

On Tuesday during the second straight day of in-person negotiations, the MLBPA proposed to the league a new minimum salary of $775,000, which would be up from the $570,500 it was in 2021, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

Per multiple reports, the league countered with an offer of $615,000 for the minimum salary.

According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, the league also withdrew its offer to change the arbitration structure and agreed to accept parameters regarding a pre-arbitration bonus pool for the top 30 eligible players based on WAR. However, the two sides are far apart on money for the bonus pool, with the MLBPA asking for $105 million and the league offering $10 million.

Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to spring training in roughly three weeks, so the two sides will need to work fast in order for spring training to start on time.

The first spring training games are scheduled for Feb. 26, which includes the openers for the Mets and Yankees.

In the event spring training is substantially delayed, there is a chance Opening Day (set for March 31) and additional regular season games will be impacted.

Jan. 24, 3:34 p.m.

During an in-person negotiating session that lasted more than two hours, the MLBPA officially rejected the league’s first proposal and made a counteroffer, per multiple reports.

The sides, in what can only be viewed as progress given the lack of contact earlier this offseason, will meet again on Tuesday, reports Hannah Keyser of Yahoo!.

Per Evan Drellich of The Athletic, the union made two significant concessions on Monday.

The first was to drop its request for an age-based free agency system that would’ve sped up the years to free agency for some players. The league had not been open to that change.

The second was a revision to a proposal regarding revenue sharing.

According to The Athletic, the two “major hurdles” left to clear revolved around whether the league is open to any changes at all regarding revenue sharing and whether the league is open to reworking rules regarding when players hit arbitration.

Jan. 20, 6:44 p.m.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the owners and players association will meet again on Monday, Jan. 24, at which point the players will present a counteroffer to the league.

MLB made its first proposal to the players association last week, though things reportedly didn’t go very well.

As of now, the Spring Training schedule is still set to start on Feb. 26.

Jan. 19, 10:23 a.m.

The MLBPA is preparing a response to the proposal made by the league last week, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network, who says that response will be “delivered within days.”

Per Heyman, the players were disappointed that the “biggest issues” weren’t addressed in the initial proposal from the league.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, that initial proposal included funneling additional money to all players with two-plus years of service time, awarding draft picks to teams that don’t manipulate service time of top prospects, and included a potential lottery for the MLB Draft.

Per multiple reports, the initial proposal also included the addition of the universal DH and a 14-team postseason, but it did not contain anything regarding earlier free agency or an increase of the luxury tax.

Jan. 13, 2:28 p.m.

The MLBPA did not react positively to the proposal made by the league on Thursday, reports ESPN’s Jeff Passan, who noted that “few on either side” expected the reaction to be positive.

Per SNY’s Andy Martino, some baseball operations people reading the tea leaves have a hard time seeing spring training opening before the middle or end of March.

The MLB and MLBPA bargaining session on Thursday was the first where core economics were expected to be discussed, and the first official session since the lockout began on Dec. 2.

Jan. 5, 9:56 a.m.

in a wide-ranging piece from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that was written after he spoke to dozens of sources around the labor negotiations, Passan reported that the belief is the earliest negotiations will ramp up is late-January.

Per Passan, the players are asking for a host of things, including earlier free agency, earlier arbitration, changes to the draft system, raises for younger players, and a higher luxury tax threshold.

As far as what the league wants, Passan reports that they’re seeking to expand the playoffs and are focused on “continuing its curtailed spending.”

Passan notes that the luxury tax threshold, which was $210 million in 2021, could be a “focal point” in negotiations, with the MLBPA wanting it raised due in part to the fact that teams often treat it as a de facto salary cap.

To reach a deal, Passan — who spoke with an owner, league officials, players, and other sources to get a handle on it — said it could require raising minimum salaries for players, adding the universal DH, expanding the playoffs from 10 to 14 teams, raising the luxury tax threshold, and making significant changes to the MLB Draft and free agency draft compensation rules.

As far as whether negotiations could cause the loss of games, Passan writes that two players he spoke with “believe” games will be missed, while others are more optimistic.

Jan. 4, 9:39 a.m.

As of Jan. 3, there weren’t any negotiating sessions scheduled between MLB and the MLBPA, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

The two sides met in December after the lockout began, but The Athletic reported that core economics of the new CBA would likely not be discussed until January.

Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to spring training in mid-February, and spring training games are scheduled to start in late-February.

Complicating matters further is that well over 100 players are still free agents, meaning a deal at the last second would send them scrambling to find new teams.

In order for the regular season to start on time, a deal would likely have to be reached no later than the third week of February.

Jan. 3, 10:19 a.m.

In a wide-ranging interview with Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times, Mets RHP Max Scherzer discussed the potential timing of a deal, the need to pay younger players more, the luxury tax, the “integrity” of the game, and more.

On the possibility that the season could be disrupted, Scherzer said it’s “hard to speculate” right now.

“You’re just in limbo right now,” Scherzer said. “You’re training ready to be good to go for when spring training starts. If that doesn’t happen, then you make different decisions based on that. But until that happens, you have to have the mentality that we’re going to be playing on time. Any other kind of speculation is just hearsay.”

As far as the integrity of the game, Scherzer explained that one thing the players want addressed is the number of teams that go into seasons with no “intent” of winning.

“Even though that can be a strategy to win in future years, we’ve seen both small-market and large-market clubs embrace tanking, and that cannot be the optimal strategy for the owners,” Scherzer said.

With spring training set to start in roughly six weeks and games scheduled to begin in late-February, negotiations between MLB and the MLBPA on the new CBA are expected to resume this month.

Dec. 15, 7:17 p.m.

The MLB and the Players’ Association are unlikely to discuss core economics of the new CBA until January, according to The Athletic.

Evan Drellich notes that both sides are not “as contentious” on matters like the luxury tax and years of arbitration, but “communication on the big-dollar issues remains on hold.”

The MLBPA made a proposal earlier this week, but to no avail or counter. The two sides will meet in Dallas on Dec. 16.

Dec. 2, 10:19 a.m.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday morning during a news conference that he remains optimistic a deal will be reached to end the lockout before regular season games are threatened.

Manfred also downplayed the perceived bad blood between MLB and the MLBPA — something that reared its head in the negotiations before the 2020 season during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in an even more delayed start and a 60-game season.

“I think people put way too much emphasis on that issue,” Manfred said. “At the end of the day, it’s about substance. We’re here. They’re there. We need to bridge that gap.”

Said Manfred about why the lockout happened:

“People need pressure sometimes to get to an agreement, but candidly we didn’t feel that sense of pressure on the other side during the course of this week,” Manfred explained. “The only tool available to you under the act is to apply economic leverage.”

Dec. 2, 12:45 a.m.

Rob Manfred made things official just after midnight, announcing that the MLB owners “have been forced to commence a lockout of Major League Players.”

Manfred penned a letter to the fans, explaining his disappointment with the situation the game finds itself in.

“Simply put, we believe that an offseason lockout is the best mechanism to protect the 2022 season. We hope that the lockout will jumpstart the negotiations and get us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time,” Manfred wrote. “This defensive lockout was necessary because the Players Association’s vision for Major League Baseball would threaten the ability of most teams to be competitive. It’s simply not a viable option. From the beginning, the MLBPA has been unwilling to move from their starting position, compromise, or collaborate on solutions.”

The MLBPA also released a statement of their own, calling the shutdown a “drastic measure, regardless of the timing.”

MLBPA director Tony Clark released his own statement, saying that this “drastic and unnecessary measure will not affect the Players’ resolve to reach a fair contract.”

With the players locked out, no player transactions can occur. The major league portion of the Winter Meetings has also been canceled.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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