Four days remain before MLB owners’ declared deadline of Monday, February 28 to get a new labor agreement in place before they begin cancelling regular season games.
We don’t know if this deadline is a hard one — though MLB has stated so — or a bluff intended to try to get the MLBPA to agree to a deal that’s less than players want.
So, let’s take a look at a few of the topics from Thursday’s meeting and what might happen Friday afternoon in Jupiter, Florida.
First, here’s a summary of what... didn’t happen:
Meetings are done. Progress was minimal. There are four days left for MLB and the MLBPA to get a new labor deal or regular-season games are going to be canceled. They've had four days to move and there's been next to nothing -- just incremental. And that's that.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 24, 2022
“Incremental” changes aren’t going to get things done at this point. There had previously been no news about any discussions on the competitive balance (“luxury”) tax, but this tweet seems to indicate otherwise:
Hard to read into this, but the CBT was discussed today, but no proposals were made. It remains the most contentious issue to be discussed and we’re going to be four days aways from MLB’s deadline when meetings resume.— Maury Brown (@BizballMaury) February 24, 2022
This is potentially good news, although “no proposals were made” isn’t. Maury Brown is correct, this is likely the most contentious issue and players and owners were far apart on numbers the last time the CBT was even discussed.
Now, on to some more of the details of what actually was discussed on Thursday (“STM” is “service time manipulation”):
MLBPA made proposals on service time manipulation and amateur draft. On STM: new proposal would grant service time to fewer players than before, narrows scope of it. On draft: still 7-pick lottery, but changing other elements that would penalize teams for consecutive losing years— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) February 24, 2022
The union’s move on service time would have given a full year to about 20 extra players over the past 5 years, down from a previous offer which would have accounted for about 29 players. Like all week, it’s a decent tweak. Big issues remain.— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) February 24, 2022
Maybe I’m wrong, but I see players moving further toward owners than the other way around. That, hopefully, will change over the next four days. But:
Source: Players upset w how far apart sides remain, adding that MLB negotiators told union they have run out of ideas and that owners are upset with players.— Michael Silverman (@MikeSilvermanBB) February 24, 2022
Players made two moves toward owners on draft order and service time manipulation.
Talks resume Friday.
So it’s not just me feeling that way. This doesn’t sound like something that will bring the sides closer together. I have previously mentioned that labor lawyer Eugene Freedman is a good Twitter follow, and he posted this excellent thread late Thursday that is worth your time.
They have four days. That might seem like a lot of time but... it’s really not, in order to save the 2022 season. I’m an optimist by nature, but it’s really hard to be that way right now. Final thought to Joe Sheehan:
One last time: The owners could accept the players’ platform as is and they would win this negotiation. That’s how little the players are asking for relative to the new revenue on the table. That’s still not good enough for them. They’re lighting baseball on fire for nothing.— Joe Sheehan (@joe_sheehan) February 24, 2022
BCB’s Sara Sanchez will have a different take on what’s happening coming up later today.