Major League Baseball requested the ability to eliminate hundreds of minor-league roster spots as part of its most recent collective bargaining agreement proposal to the MLB Players Association, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.
MLB organizations are currently allowed to employ up to 180 minor-league players at any given time. The league's proposal would've kept that number in place for the 2022 season. Afterward, commissioner Rob Manfred would've been able to adjust the cap up or down for the duration of the CBA, which often stretch over five years. Passan added that the league has requested unilateral control over the cap before.
It should be noted that a reduction of 30 minor-league jobs per organization would result in the unemployment of 900 players across MiLB. This would be in addition to the jobs lost when the league slashed more than 40 minor-league affiliates two years ago, greatly reducing the size of the farm system apparatus.
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Even if the union doesn't agree to the league's proposal, Passan reported that they are open to reducing the size of the draft on a permanent basis. The union offered to move to a 20-round draft heading forward, or the same size as the 2021 class. (The draft had been 40 rounds prior to 2020, when the pandemic caused the sides to shrink it to a five-round affair.)
MLB's owners locked out the players with the expiration of the previous CBA in early December. The owners did not have to do so, as the two sides could have continued to negotiate as part of the last CBA's sunset provisions. At the time, Manfred claimed it was a defensive mechanism to hasten negotiations. Manfred and the owners then waited more than six weeks to make their first proposal to the players.
Former Marlins president David Samson discussed the latest in the MLB lockout on Tuesday's Nothing Personal with David Samson. Listen below:
The MLBPA and owners last met on Saturday, and the next negotiating session has not yet been scheduled, per Evan Drellich of The Athletic. Spring training was originally scheduled to open this week.