Well, so much for the glimmer of hope that spring training could start on time, with the latest negotiating session Tuesday between Major League Baseball and the players union producing nothing but further acrimony.
The two sides met for a heated 90-minute negotiating session, with MLB furious at the union for making only a slight modification to two proposals after a week, and the union frustrated that MLB is not making further concessions in their talks for a new collective bargaining agreement.
Now, the only real thing they’re agree on these days is that it would take a miracle resolution in the next week to 10 days for spring training to open on time Feb. 16 in Arizona and Florida.
This was only their fourth negotiating session since Dec. 1, and accomplishing little more than rancor.
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In their first negotiating session since Jan. 25, the union lowered its bonus pool proposal for non-eligible arbitration players from $105 million to $100 million, while MLB’s last offer was $10 million. It also adjusted their original proposal to help prevent service-time manipulatio by requesting that players receive a full year of service time in their rookie season if infielders and catchers finish among the top seven for their position in WAR in each league, with outfielders, relief pitchers and starting pitchers finishing among the top 20.
The union also said it would accept a modification of MLB’s proposal that would reward draft pick compensation to teams whose players finish among the top three in the Rookie of the Year, MVP and Cy Young voting.
The union, however, still is seeking that every player with at least two years of service time are eligible for salary arbitration while MLB is requiring a player to have three years of service or are among the top 22% in service with two years.
There was absolutely no movement on the gulf-sized difference in the minimum salaries or luxury tax thresholds. The union wants rookies to earn a minimum of $775,000 while MLB has countered with $615,000 for the first year, $650,000 the second year and $700,000 the third year before being eligible for arbitration.
The union also is seeking the luxury tax threshold be raised from $210 million to $245 million the first year, and escalating to $273 million in 2026. MLB offered to raise it from $214 million the first year and topping off at $220 million after five years. MLB’s proposal also includes penalties that are nearly twice as great as the last CBA , the union argues.
MLB is expected to respond with new proposals in the next week, but with progress painfully slow, the real deadline now may be by the end of February simply to prevent the 2022 regular season from being delayed.
MLB insists its proposals make it a much better deal for players than the last CBA , providing more money to players across the board: draft picks, prospects, non-eligible arbitration players, free agents (no draft pick compensation), a draft lottery, and the implementation of a universal DH – but the union says that MLB’s proposals, particularly with the stiff luxury tax, is worse than the current deal.
Really, the only major concession since the start of their talks began last summer is that the union dropped its request to lower free agency from six years to five years, while MLB has eliminated its proposal to eliminate salary arbitration.
The stalemate, just as it was in November and December, continuing after a 43-day hiatus in January, opened the month of February in the same fashion.
There’s no resolution in sight as the clock keeps ticking.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: MLB lockout news: Spring training 2022 likely to be delayed