Progress Finally Being Made on the MLB Lockout?

The MLB and MLBPA met for three hours yesterday and multiple more today, so it seems that progress is finally being made towards a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. But how far apart are the two sides? What exactly is being negotiated on for future seasons? Let’s break it down.

Arbitration and Free Agency

One of the major points for the players leading into the CBA negotiations has been allowing players more freedom in deciding their future and the amount of money they can make early in their careers. Specifically, the players have requested an expansion of the MLB’s “Super Twos” rules that previously allowed the top 22% of players to enter arbitration earlier, as well as a significant bonus pool for players in arbitration.

So far in negotiations, the MLBPA has already dropped a provision that would have allowed players to enter free agency a year earlier. Time will tell to see if they continue to negotiate on this front. Chances are slim they’ll keep everything else they’re looking for.

Minor Leaguers

While the MLBPA doesn’t negotiate for minor leaguers, the union understands today’s minor league players are the future MLB players, so they do keep their interests in mind. This was especially made clear when the MLB decided to propose this in one of their deals:

Essentially, the MLB doesn’t want to pay up to 30 players per team, shrinking the minor league system and cutting costs for the owners. For context on the cost of minor league player salaries:

This wouldn’t actually reduce the amount of teams, as Passan mentions in the article, meaning costs are only reduced in terms of these player salaries. This also means that fewer players will be able to try to fulfill their dreams by playing baseball for a living. Luckily, it seems this provision has been removed by the MLB:

Tanking and Draft Rules

The final area concerning both the MLB and MLBPA is how to properly curb tanking through initiating a lottery system for draft compensation. This seems to be the area on which both sides agree the most, with the details being all that is being decided on. The MLB is now offering a lottery for the top four teams. The MLBPA wants eight. Although reports are now saying they’ve moved to seven in today’s proposal.

How Far Apart Are We?

Given these areas, it looks like the two sides aren’t actually very far apart except when it comes to arbitration and the bonus pool for players. As of today’s negotiations, the MLBPA is asking for 75% of the “Super Twos” to get arbitration and a $775k minimum salary for big leaguers. The last they asked the bonus pool to be is $115 million. The owners, to my knowledge, haven’t countered on the amount of super Twos going to arbitration, but have proposed a measly $15 million for the bonus pool. It seems to me that will need some serious work for the two sides to meet in the middle. Given this is where we currently stand with just over a month before the season is supposed to start, I would expect there to be a major delay to the season. But with meetings expected to continue through the week, who knows?

Image Source: Trevor Williams @mellamotrevor on Twitter

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– Pat Shuman (@PShu1996 on Twitter) Check out my other articles here!

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