The relationship between players and ownership regarding labor relations in baseball over the past two years has started to turn sour and we have yet another layer here, though it comes with a surprisingly good ending for players. 

Padres veterans Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer took owner Ron Fowler to dinner with the purpose of convincing him to let phenom shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. to start the season in the majors. The dinner paid off, and Jeff Passan at ESPN has the full story. We're just gonna focus on this one aspect. 

Isn't that a problem? 

We can simplify the situation. An organization needed convincing that playing its best players was in its best interest. We'll skip the hypothetical question and just flat out say it: It's a problem. 

The best players should play. It should be a meritocracy. 

For those unaware, the MLB system is set up in a way that teams can hold players in the minors for roughly a week and a half before promoting them in order to gain an extra year of control. The most blatant and high-profile case in recent memory was the Cubs with Kris Bryant. He missed eight games to start the 2015 season and then came up and won Rookie of the Year before winning MVP the next season. Had he started the season with the Cubs, he'd be set to hit free agency after the 2020 season. Instead, the Cubs have him through 2021, at least. 

It ended up being a great business decision from the Cubs' end. They still made a run to the NLCS in 2015 and won the 2016 World Series. They now have Bryant for an extra year. 

From the player perspective, Bryant had to start in the minors even though he surely knew he was good enough to be in the majors. 

We keep seeing it happen and the Tatis news was cause for celebration. To hear it took Machado and Hosmer wining and dining the owner puts a bit of a damper on it. Still, let's go the all-is-well-that-ends-well route here. It's a happy ending, as previously noted. 

Tatis is 3 for 6 with a walk, double and run scored in two games and the Padres are 2-0. It's an early win for the fans of meritocracy.