We are in Day 3 of the negotiations between MLB owners and the MLB Players Association in which the two sides said they’d meet every day. They have done so, and have met for several hours each time, either together or caucusing amongst themselves. Overall, caucuses and meetings Wednesday lasted a bit more than five hours. I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or not; at this time I don’t know how much of that time was spent actually negotiating, and how much of it was just owners and players meeting separately.
Once again, I have to report to you that almost no progress has been made. Here’s one report of a slightly tweaked offer owners made to players:
Source: MLB’s only proposal so far today added $10,000 to minimum salary per year.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) February 23, 2022
MLB also withdrew its proposal for an alternate minimum system that was tiered based on service time.
They’re not done talking yet.
Good, I suppose, that they were still talking at the time of that tweet, four hours after they had begun. And here’s a reply to that tweet that shows how insignificant those proposed minimum salary raises actually are:
Lest anyone forget, MLB's national TV contracts go up by ~30% beginning this season. https://t.co/8FzqcTHQGA— (((EugeneFreedman))) (@EugeneFreedman) February 23, 2022
Thirty percent more money from national TV contracts. I’ll save you the math: Adding $10,000 to $630,000 (to get to that $640,000 figure) is about 1.5 percent.
Here’s how far apart the two sides are:
Five days before the deadline MLB says will postpone regular-season games, here's the gap between the sides in their latest proposals:— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 23, 2022
Pre-arb bonus pool: $95M
Minimum salary: $135K/player
Draft lottery: 3 picks
That's a lot to cover in less than a week. Like, a lot.
And don’t forget this about the CBT (competitive balance tax, or “luxury tax”):
I have not heard the MLBPA say they are pulling it off the table, but it’s important to remember that the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT, or more commonly known as the Luxury Tax) sunset when the last labor deal expired on Dec 1. That’s a massive give to the owners. pic.twitter.com/Jx0bTZZ5sC— Maury Brown (@BizballMaury) February 23, 2022
I don’t see the CBT being pulled off the table, either. It’s probably the biggest sticking point in these negotiations.
Now, a few other random notes. I’ve got a bit of a bone to pick with the Associated Press over this headline:
Mets' Max Scherzer arrives in Porsche, joins fellow pitcher Gerrit Cole and other players as union and MLB meet for a third straight day in an attempt to salvage opening day on March 31 amid lockout.https://t.co/9kqPHgAFMK— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) February 23, 2022
“Max Scherzer arrives in Porsche.” Translation: “Look at this rich, greedy player.” I’m guessing the owners attending this meeting likely flew in on private jets, or at the very least in First Class on a commercial airline. What difference does this make, AP? Why are you positioning things that way? That’s not good journalism. Here, Grant Brisbee put it best:
Max Scherzer can afford a Porsche because he can put a 97-mph fastball with movement wherever he wants. Dick Monfort can afford a Porsche because he was Kenneth Monfort's son.— Grant Brisbee (@GrantBrisbee) February 23, 2022
this tweet and story should be framed and hung in the Hall of "Objective" Journalism. If you're going to mention Scherzer's $100k car, why not mention John Henry's $90M yacht? https://t.co/2azbNUhSBx— Rob Arthur (@No_Little_Plans) February 23, 2022
Better headline, AP:
Alternate headline: Mets’ Max Scherzer, who has 3 Cy Young Awards and $220 million in career earnings, advocates for higher minimum salaries and restrictions on service time manipulation for the third day in a row because he believes it’s the right thing to do https://t.co/PmsTYg21GG— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) February 23, 2022
Ben Nicholson-Smith adds:
Collective bargaining isn’t for everyone. There’s nothing wrong with working out, staying ready & keeping to yourself. But it is meaningful for young MLB players to know stars like Scherzer, Cole, Semien & Lindor are spending their time & energy supporting guys just breaking in.— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) February 23, 2022
Also, the linked article mentions a number of players who were at the meeting and then contains this irrelevant paragraph:
Britton, Cole, Paxton, Scherzer and Semien are represented by Scott Boras, baseball’s most powerful agent.
What difference does that make to these negotiations? (NARRATOR: “None.”) Do better, AP.
Then, it got to silly season:
Negotiations might not be making progress but I can assure you that my watch tan is escalating— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) February 23, 2022
I had to redo this tweet because I added a word I am losing my mind
But Chelsea Janes is spot-on here:
As others have said, MLB’s proposal today was to raise their proposals on minimum salaries by $10,000.— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) February 23, 2022
Literally even Pedro Baez could not slow this process down
As always, we await developments, but this is developing so slowly that I suspect we’re going to be waiting past the stated February 28 deadline to start the season on time. If these talks go past that date with no deal, I think all bets are off.