Wednesday marked the third day in a week where representatives from Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association were set to meet each weekday in hopes to at least close the gap in negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement. We say "at least" because the ultimate goal would be to come to terms on a new agreement, triggering an end to the owner-mandated lockout.
MLB has said Feb. 28 is the latest they can reach a deal for a new CBA without delaying Opening Day (currently scheduled for March 31), though the MLBPA may not ultimately agree if things bleed into next week. A league spokesperson told reporters, including The Athletic's Evan Drellich, that games will be cancelled without being made up after Feb. 28 As a reminder, the owners could lift the lockout and big-league spring training could begin nearly immediately while the two sides continue to negotiate. To this point, however, there is zero indication the owners are willing to do this.
On Wednesday, the league proposed adding $10,000 to the minimum salary per year and dropped its request for the minimum salary to be based on service-time tiers, according to Drellich.
Previously, the two sides met for around five hours on Monday, though much of that time was spent in separate rooms putting proposals together. On Tuesday, the players side offered up a proposal that the owner side viewed as a step backward.
Here's a rundown of what the owners reportedly offered to start the week:
- Raise the bonus pool for pre-arbitration players to $20 million. MLB previously offered $15 million for the top 30 players. The MLBPA is seeking a $115 million bonus pool to split among the top 150 players.
- Draft lottery for the top four picks. MLB previously offered a lottery for the top three picks only. The union previously wanted the top eight picks to be decided by a lottery.
- No change to the previous luxury tax proposal. MLB is offering a small raise to the tax with much harsher penalties. The MLBPA is seeking to raise the threshold from $210 million to $245 million. More on that here.
- Rescinded their request to control the total number of minor-league teams, as as well as their offer to limit options to five times per season, per ESPN's Jeff Passan.
Tuesday, the players countered with:
- No apparent movement on the $115 million bonus pool.
- The top seven picks for the amateur draft would be lottery.
- The luxury tax wasn't discussed.
- A proposed minimum salary of $775,000 with $30,000 increases in each the second and third years of service.
There's been no new proposal on the Competitive Balance Tax, one of the largest sticking points in negotiations.