Union to respond to MLB’s latest CBA proposal on Wednesday; Game Cancellations in Queue – Press Enterprise

By RONALD BLUM AP Baseball Writer

NEW YORK – Negotiators for suspended players and Major League Baseball spent 16½ hours negotiating, then paused talks until Wednesday morning when Commissioner Rob Manfred met his deadline to reach an agreement and receive a 162-game season pass.

Just after 3 p.m. ET on the 98th day of the lockdown, MLB said no more games have been canceled and talks are continuing.

“The Players’ Association has requested to speak to their board of directors tomorrow morning before acting on our proposal and will be in touch with us tomorrow morning,” an MLB spokesman said in a statement.

A Tuesday morning meeting at the MLB office across from Radio City Music Hall was followed by an afternoon meeting at the union’s office overlooking Rockefeller Center, about a three-block walk away. The sides then moved to speaking by phone from their separate offices.

MLB has spoken to players on the key economic issues of the luxury tax, the size of a new bonus pool for pre-arbitration eligible players, and minimum salaries. The league also pushed for its long-cherished goal of an international amateur draft.

However, it remained unclear whether this more intensive phase of talks would lead to an agreement or to another failure of the often tense negotiations, which had been going on for almost a year.

Manfred originally set February 28th as the deadline for preserving the March 31st opening day.

After 16½ hours of negotiations in Jupiter, Fla., beginning February 28 and ending at 2:30 a.m. the next morning, bringing progress, Manfred extended that deadline to 5:00 p.m. the next day.

Talks collapsed and Manfred announced that the first two series for each team during the season had been cancelled. Negotiators returned to New York and resumed negotiations on Sunday.

Although it appears that Opening Day may not go ahead as originally planned, MLB told the union Tuesday is the final day possible to reach an agreement that would include a 162-game modified schedule and full pay and required tenure would allow achieve free agency for players.

The cancellation of the second week of the game could have serious consequences at a particularly sensitive time in negotiations. The ultimatum from the league, which locked players out on Dec. 2, was simple: With a new framework agreement, players would report to spring training sites this week, free agency would reopen, and after an abbreviated spring training, a 162-game season that would mark the Offered players full pay and service time would begin.

MLB on Tuesday offered a tax threshold that starts at $230 million and rises to $242 million, a person familiar with the proposal said, confirming a move first reported by The Athletic. The person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no public statements were authorized, said management’s proposal included harsher penalties at a higher pay scale than the expired agreement.

The union started the week with $238 million for this year and grew to $263 million by 2026.

The union stepped in Monday asking for an $80 million bonus pool for this year and MLB was up at $30 million. MLB offered a minimum salary of $700,000 and the union asked for $725,000.

There have been major differences over the final four seasons of the proposed five-year deal. The union’s proposed figure for 2026 was $263 million earlier in the week.

Other proposed deal points raised optimism that a deal could be close. The league had proposed a six-team draft lottery, a 12-team postseason, and a 45-day window for MLB to change rules on the field, all of which matched the union’s previous offer.

Length of service considerations are critical for players reaching salary arbitration after three full years of major league service and free agency after six years. Players earn a full year of service by spending 172 days on a major league roster. A season is typically 186 days and if more than two weeks of the season are canceled the redress service would become part of further negotiations.

Among the league’s other proposals, according to reports:

• A $40 million bonus pool for players who have not yet made it to payroll; The union is seeking $75 million

• Minimum salaries start at $700,000 and increase to $770,000 by fifth year

• The reduced window for MLB to unilaterally implement rule changes—including a pitch clock, a ban on defensive rotations and larger bases in the 2023 season

• Player uniforms for the first time with advertising, with patches on jerseys and decals on batting helmets

• Use incentives to prevent service time manipulation

• The National League adopts the designated batsman

• Limit the number of times a player can be called up to the minor leagues in a season to five

Player salaries have fallen over the past four seasons despite growing revenues, which were estimated at $10.7 billion in 2019. The significant increase in franchise values ​​- which have almost quadrupled in the last two framework agreements – united the players.

At the same time, content with the current economic system, the league has pushed back the massive gains players were hoping for. While potential guarantees for younger players total around $100 million, the game’s unlimited system allows teams to spend less on older players to offset the additional cost.

Intelligence agencies contributed to this story.


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