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MLB, MLBPA hold marathon talks that go past another deadline

The parties really do seem to want to get a deal done. The deadline’s now Wednesday afternoon.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball had stated, prior to their discussions on a new collective bargaining agreement with the MLB Players Association, that Tuesday was the deadline for such an agreement in order to have a full 162-game season. (Of course, that was after cancelling games they had said wouldn’t be made up, a week earlier in Jupiter, Florida.)

I’m going to start this article at the end, so you can see where the two sides stand coming into Wednesday. They didn’t finish up until around 3 a.m. Eastern time:

Now, we can pick up what happened Tuesday. MLB owners presented players with a comprehensive proposal that appeared to go much farther toward the MLBPA’s position than previously — even after announcing Sunday that talks were “deadlocked.”

Here are the major proposals made by MLB. Apologies for the tweetstorm, but that seemed to be the quickest and easiest way to show you all the proposals all in one place. I’ll add a few comments.

COMMENT: This will be a common theme throughout these proposals — they appear to be heading in the players’ direction, then a “poison pill” is added, in this case, a third “surcharge” level for the luxury tax. As Evan Drellich notes, it’s supposed to “deter” owners from spending. Does that sound like a salary cap to you in disguise? It does to me. It’s been dubbed “The Steve Cohen Tax” by some, as the Mets owner has already spent way past the OLD tax levels for 2022 and some owners fear he’d go higher.

The luxury tax levels in general are closer to the players’ position, but still won’t track revenue increases. That’s been a big part of the issue for players, who have been receiving an ever-smaller percentage of overall baseball revenues for nearly a decade. I’ll just put this here again:

The Athletic

COMMENT: This is a good proposal and definitely gets closer to what players were asking for.

Here are some of the non-financial proposals:

COMMENT: These are all a lot closer to what players were asking for, and generally positive. The one I’m curious about is the “five times being optioned before being exposed to waivers.” This sounds similar to, but not exactly like, the players’ proposal of teams being limited to five times being optioned per year. Now, there would be an actual penalty added to a sixth option — the player would have to be placed on waivers, which most teams probably wouldn’t want to do.

Now, here’s one “poison pill”:

COMMENT: Previously in these negotiations, I had thought owners had agreed to eliminate the qualifying offer, or at least eliminate any sort of compensation for free agency. This is owners asking for something in exchange instead. As noted, the QO system has put a drag on FA salaries — so it could be perceived as another sort of “salary cap,” in a way. This could be a major sticking point in making a deal.

COMMENT: For those of you against a 14-team postseason (and I’m one of them), this is good news. It was inevitable that the playoff field would increase from the current 10 teams. Twelve is better than 14. And, if owners are still insistent on a 14-team field, this leaves it as leverage for the players in the next negotiation.

So here’s where we stand at the moment (and please note, a couple of these national writers are known to be mouthpieces for ownership):

So, MLB’s “deadline” was a soft one, and we enter Wednesday with still a chance that a deal will be made and a 162-game season will be played, which is what we all want, players, owners, fans. I did want to make a note of this, though:

Translation: MLB owners are about to get a lot more money dumped on them, but they’re not talking about this until AFTER a CBA is finished. Does this mean this is money they don’t want to share with players?

Just a thought.

Again, we appear to be close to baseball. That’s a good thing, and it does seem that owners have moved closer to the players’ position in this latest offer. Per Michael Silverman’s tweet that led off this article, the MLBPA is going to send over another proposal to owners sometime today.

If only all of this had been done — and it absolutely could have been — starting in December when the lockout began, or even before that, we would be talking about Spring Training games right now instead of labor contract negotiations.

Let’s hope they come to agreement today, because if not, I fear we’ll be in for a much longer delay.

As always, we await developments.