MLB owners and the MLB Players Association met in Jupiter, Florida, at the St. Louis Cardinals spring training complex, Monday afternoon to try to get that “jumpstart” in negotiations promised by Commissioner Rob Manfred nearly three months ago.
Jupiter. Well, that led to jokes like this:
Considering they seem worlds apart, perhaps it's only fitting MLB and the MLBPA are meeting in Jupiter.— John Perrotto (@JPerrotto) February 21, 2022
Ha, ha. Gotta laugh, right?
Seriously, though, this appears to be the first time that a real negotiating session took place. The parties met for a bit more than an hour, then split up to meet with their own caucuses, players and owners separately. Here’s why that’s good:
I said the real negotiations happen in caucus, because that's where you have to get your own team to agree to the next steps. You're not posturing for the media, you're not posturing for the other party. You are getting everyone on your team to reach consensus about how to 1/ https://t.co/9Hd3FVytx3— (((EugeneFreedman))) (@EugeneFreedman) February 21, 2022
move your side closer to reaching agreement or how to extend a proposal that will move the other party closer to agreement. You may have hard liners on your own team. So, you need to get them to agree to the next step. You have to identify shared interests even when none 2/— (((EugeneFreedman))) (@EugeneFreedman) February 21, 2022
appear obvious. You have to address the other party's interests while also maintaining and advancing your own. And, you have to do it as a unified team. You can't move too fast for your slowest member, but you have to make progress at the same time.— (((EugeneFreedman))) (@EugeneFreedman) February 21, 2022
That’s a good short primer on understanding how these sorts of negotiations work, and the fact that they met together after the caucusing is also a good sign.
This, though, might not be:
Meeting breaking up. Among MLB proposals today: MLB raised its prearbitration bonus pool $5 million, to $20 million. Still a very large gap compared to players’ proposal. MLB also proposed to allow one more draft pick to be determined by lottery, now top 4. Players had proposed 8— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) February 21, 2022
That’s moving like three inches in a day. One had hoped that there would be more movement toward a center, toward compromise. Also, this covers only a couple of issues that separate the two sides, and also:
No revised CBT proposal today. That’s an area of major importance to both sides.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) February 21, 2022
That’s really where this entire thing is going to hinge, in my view — on the competitive balance tax, better known as the “luxury tax.” If there’s no revision in the proposed CBT levels or penalties on either side, they are about as far apart as Jupiter (the planet) is from Earth. Nothing’s going to get done, really, if there isn’t a deal on the CBT. The two sides are under a self-imposed time constraint of next Monday, February 28, as it’s been stated that if there’s no deal by that deadline, regular season games could be lost.
At the moment there’s not much more to report and there probably will be later, but I wanted to post an article with at least this much info, and to let you know that as always, we await developments.