Major League Baseball owners and the players’ association still remain far apart in negotiations after the two sides met on Thursday to discuss core economic matters for the first time since the lockout began on Dec. 2.
According to multiple reports, the proposal MLB made during the video meeting was not well received by the players.
Among the main points included in the owners’ proposal were:
• Raising the minimum salary for younger players and making more money available to Super Two players (Players who qualify for arbitration before reaching three years of service time)
• Draft pick bonuses for teams with top 150 prospects who finish in top-five for a major award like MVP, Cy Young or Rookie of the Year we be rewarded in an effort to discourage service-time manipulation.
• Tweaks around the MLB draft to include a lottery for the top-three picks.
The MLBPA has advocated for a larger lottery — up to eight picks — while the first point would essentially eliminate arbitration for the Super Two players (a small subset) something the union would rather see an increase in players eligible for arbitration rather than a reduction, no matter how small.
Per Audacy’s MLB Insider Jon Heyman, the players’ disappointment stemmed from no changes to the luxury tax, free agency or revenue sharing. They would also like to see a greater increase in minimum player salary than what MLB has offered.
Meanwhile, MLB’s position was that the proposal was to specifically address the issue of pay for younger players and get the ball rolling on negotiations for the luxury tax and free agency later.
As far as free agency is concerned, MLB is “dead set against” lowering free agency eligibility from six years to five, according to Heyman. Their reasoning is due to concern about players from small market teams jumping to big markets and hurting competitive balance.
The union will likely respond with a counteroffer while no follow-up bargainng sessions was immediately scheduled.
The possibility of a delayed spring training now looms large, with pitchers and catchers scheduled to report in a month from now. Opening Day of the regular season is March 31, which is when players begin to see their paychecks.
The closer the lockout gets to that date and the possibility of missing games, the more pressure the players will be under to strike a deal.