The past few months have been a difficult time for the game of baseball as the owners and players union have failed to come together and find a middle ground and a lot of new economic issues. With the majority of factors stalling, both sides met over the weekend trying to find more middle ground, but the MLBPA ”went backward,” according to the owners.
The two sides met for more than 90 minutes on Sunday as the players association provided a counter after a disappointing offer from the owners. With Commissioner Rob Manfred already canceling the first two series of the 2022 season, it is becoming more likely that future games will be axed as well.
Interestingly, the union gave Manfred a few wins, including a pitch clock, larger bases, and banning shifts to hurt batters who fail to hit opposite field.
- The union lowered its request on the pre-arbitration bonus pool from $85 million to $80 million. The owners previously proposed a $30 million central fund, meaning the gap there remains sizable, at $50 million.
- The union ceded no ground on its request for the Competitive Balance Tax to begin at $238 million and grow to $263 million. The league has countered with a CBT threshold that starts at $220 million and slowly climbs to $230 million. This has been arguably the hottest button issue in negotiations, with four owners reportedly voting no to the proposal based solely on the CBT threshold.
- The union also made no movement on its ask for a higher league minimum salary of $725,000 with annual raises of $20,000. The league has offered a minimum of $700,000 with annual raises of $10,000.
- The union wants a draft lottery to determine the top six picks every summer as a means of curbing anti-competitive behavior. The league wants that lottery to cover only the top five picks.
The core economic issues of the CBA still remain at large, notably the luxury tax threshold and pre-arbitration bonus pool. The two sides are millions if not tens of millions off on the numbers, so it could take weeks/months more to find a solution.
Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy way around these issues, but one side must completely submit. Alternatively, they will both have to meet in the middle if neither budge, and it seems as if the owners are fine letting the 2022 season pass by, despite the massive loss of income that would accrue.