MLB and Players Association to meet today, with union open to renegotiating 14-team playoffs format

After barely speaking since Tuesday, when the Players Association turned down a last-minute offer by the league before their deadline – since it wasn’t met, Commissioner Rob Manfred already cancelled the first two series of the season – MLB and the union are expected to have some contact today.

The MLB Players Association (MLBPA) will present, in writing, responses to the league’s latest proposals, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

What was MLB’s latest offer? The competitive balance tax (CBT) would start at $220 million for 2022, 2023, and 2024, then increase to $224 million in 2025 and $230 million in 2026 (MLBPA wants to start, at least, at $238 million this year).

There is also a $55 million difference in the pre-arbitration bonus pool for outstanding players. The league is offering $30 million, players want $85 million.

MLB wants 14 teams in the postseason

MLB wants to start with a $700,000 minimum salary, increasing it by $10,000 per year until 2026. Players want to start at $775,000.

Talks are expected to revolve around the expanded playoffs. The MLBPA has shown a willingness to revisit the 14-team format that owners want, but with a “ghost” win for the division winner. As MLB Trade Rumors explains, “under that scenario, the division winner would only need to win one game to move on to the Division Series, while the Wild Card club would need to win two straight games.”

It is believed that the union would like to use the 14-team playoff format as a bargaining chip: they obviously don’t want half the teams making the postseason because teams would see they don’t need to spend so much in payroll to get into the party, but they could ask MLB to increase its current offer of a $220 million CBT in exchange.

Negotiations should be quick and effective if MLB and the players don’t want to miss more regular season games. MLB fans, including Mets and Yankees‘ enthusiasts, will have to wait a bit more to watch their teams.