Many people around baseball, fans included, had eagerly awaited Saturday’s planned meeting between MLB owners and the MLB Players Association.
Evan Drellich of The Athletic had written this after Commissioner Rob Manfred’s Thursday news conference:
Manfred, meanwhile, tried to put a different packaging on the messaging the league has had all along, to the tune of: The owners are making offers the players should actually like.
“In total, the proposals we’ve made would move the agreement decidedly in the players’ direction,” Manfred said.
In reality, this wasn’t the case in Saturday’s meeting, which lasted less than an hour. From Drellich:
The meeting has ended. Union officials are underwhelmed. MLB made a large proposal (compiling some previous ones) on economics & otherwise. Pre-arb bonus pool went up $5 million, to $15m. Slight increases to CBT thresholds, no changes to CBT tax rates. Players will fully review.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) February 12, 2022
As part of MLB’s CBT proposal, thresholds go to: $214m, $214m, $216m, $218m, $222m.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) February 12, 2022
(Previously: 214, 214, 214, 216, 220)
On league minimum salary, MLB made two proposals. One for a flat amount of $630,000 (and teams could pay more if they wish).— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) February 12, 2022
Or tiered proposal with an increase in year 3: now, $615k for 0-1 service time, $650k for 1-2 yrs, $725k for 2-3 yrs. Increase is in 2-3: used to be 700k
None of this sounds “decidedly in the players’ direction.” Instead, it’s tiny baby steps toward what players want, and not really anywhere close to what players have proposed. Usually, when a labor negotiation winds up in compromise, neither side gets everything they want, but both get something. These proposals aren’t going to move the needle for players at all, in my view. There’s a bit more:
Service time: League also offered ability to receive 2 draft picks instead of one if a star prospect is kept up and finishes in top 3 in awards in multiple years. So Cubs would have gotten a pick after Bryant wins ROY in 2015 then one after MVP in 2016. If up all year— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) February 12, 2022
Some smaller points in latest proposal: Limit option to minors to 5 in a given season.— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) February 12, 2022
Also, Re-instituting draft and follow. Means can draft a player then send him to Juco for a year then sign him.
But none of this matters unless the big stuff gets done
Jesse Rogers is correct, and the “big stuff” isn’t anywhere close to being done.
Nothing’s been announced — yet — about Spring Training, although with pitcher and catcher reporting dates less than a week away and the first scheduled MLB spring games two weeks from today, I’m pretty sure you can assume Spring Training will not go on as scheduled. It would be nice — and considerate to fans — for MLB to announce specifics about this. There are people who have planned travel to spring games and who don’t follow these negotiations as closely as I do, or likely as you the BCB reader do, and they deserve some consideration. Or maybe they’re just thinking this way:
The owners have decided they’ll either keep their dominant status quo or not have baseball. Either way, they don’t care.— Joe Sheehan (@joe_sheehan) February 12, 2022
That’s a bit over-the-top... but not much, the way I see it.
At this point I am nearly certain that we are going to lose regular-season games in 2022. No announcement was made, after the talks broke up Saturday afternoon, on when the next talks would happen. If such an announcement comes Saturday, I will either update this article or post a new one.
Maybe you see it differently; maybe you see this as posturing; maybe you see this as “normal” in labor negotiations.
It doesn’t feel that way to me, and the clock’s ticking. As always, we await developments.