The players’ union is prepared to release a written response to the latest Major League Baseball offer Sunday night, sources close to negotiations told Yahoo Sports. The response will be released possibly as early as Sunday morning, according to those familiar with the situation.
8:43 p.m. Eastern
ESPN’s Jeff Passan
- MLB insider on ESPN
- Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of Sports’ Most Valuable Commodity,” “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of Sports’ Most Valuable Commodity”
Sources familiar with the union’s intentions tell ESPN that officials from the Major League Baseball Players Association are drafting a formal response to MLB’s latest offer on a new collective bargaining agreement, which came before the league canceled the first week of the regular season.
The MLBPA will need the approval of player leaders before bringing any parameters on a potential deal to the league after the league rejected its proposal Tuesday afternoon. The league’s lockout of the union is approaching its 100th day, and the MLBPA will need the approval of player leaders before bringing any parameters on a potential deal to the league after the league rejected its proposal Tuesday afternoon.
The first two series of the season were formally canceled by Commissioner Rob Manfred on Tuesday, the last time the teams met. If a settlement isn’t reached soon, the league, which has said that it needs four weeks of spring training before the season starts, might postpone another round of games. MLB said on Friday that spring training games would be suspended until March 18.
The league demanded that the union submit a written document outlining its recommendations during a Thursday meeting that featured deputy commissioner Dan Halem and union head negotiator Bruce Meyer. Despite the fact that the distance between the parties reduced after nine days of negotiations in Jupiter, Florida, the sides were unable to reach an agreement because they were so far apart on the competitive-balance-tax level and other concerns.
The CBT, or luxury tax, is still a stumbling block in talks. The union recommended a first-year CBT barrier of $238 million in its recent Florida proposal, which would increase to $263 million in the fifth year. The league recommended that the barrier be set at $220 million for three years, then increased to $230 million. The proposed bonus pool for players who have yet to reach salary arbitration still has a big gap: $85 million for the players vs. $30 million for the owners.
While the players agreed to a 10 to 12 team postseason expansion, they would contemplate increasing to 14 teams, which is MLB’s ideal number, but only if the three-game wild card series included a special provision. The players have advocated adopting a “game in hand” or “ghost win” to incentivise winning a division, in which a division winner in a three-game wild card series would enter the series with “a victory” and just need one more to progress.
The sides came home without a settlement after the Florida sessions, despite the disappointment of games lost and the potential of spring training swiftly fading. The union and league have spent months swapping suggestions but have not come close to a settlement, just like they did in 2020 during the early days of COVID-19 when they failed to reach an agreement on a playing season.
The last time MLB missed a game was in 1995, towards the conclusion of a lengthy strike that resulted in the cancellation of the 1994 World Series. The last time a planned Opening Day was canceled was in 1990, when all parties reached an agreement on March 18. The start of the season was delayed later, resulting in 162 games being played.