On Sunday, representatives from Major League Baseball and the MLB Players' Association will hold their first bargaining session since commissioner Rob Manfred announced earlier this week that the first two regular season series are being canceled. MLB Network's Jon Heyman says no players will attend the meeting. Only each side's top negotiators.
MLB and the MLBPA last met on Tuesday in Florida. The league made what it called its "best and final offer" prior to canceling games, and now the ball is in the union's court. The Athletic's Evan Drellich says the MLBPA will submit a written proposal that includes concepts the two sides have discussed verbally, and likely some new changes as well.
When the two sides parted ways last week, significant gaps remained in several core economic issues, most notably the competitive balance tax (i.e. luxury tax). Here is a summary of each side's latest economic offer:
$700,000 with $10,000 increase per year
$725,000 with $20,000 increase per year
Competitive balance tax
$220 million in 2022 climbing to $230 million in 2026
$238 million in 2022 climbing to $263 million in 2026
Pre-arbitration bonus pool
$30 million with no increases
$85 million with $5 million increases per year
The gap in the minimum salary seems bridgeable. The brand new pre-arbitration bonus pool will take some work, however, ditto the competitive balance tax, which is a priority item for both sides. Four owners -- Bob Castellini (Reds), Chris Ilitch (Tigers), Ken Kendrick (Diamondbacks), Arte Moreno (Angels) -- .
"It's important to look at the patterns of CBT increases over the last several agreements," Manfred said Tuesday, though those patterns are what the union takes issue with because the threshold has not increased at the same rate as league revenues.
MLB and the MLBPA would need to come to an agreement within a matter of days to avoid canceling more regular season games. In all likelihood, MLB will counter the proposal the MLBPA will make Sunday before announcing any additional cancellations. The two sides hope to reduce the "media circus" that took place last week in Florida.
At 94 days and counting, the owner-initiated lockout is the second longest work stoppage in baseball history, behind only the 1994-95 players' strike (232 days). Here is a full timeline of the lockout.