This week’s events in CBA negotiations:
The MLB and MLBPA met for about 90 minutes on Tuesday. They discussed the major financial issues at the crux of the impasse. Neither side moved much off previously stated desires. They met again Wednesday, but only talked about more peripheral issues. Thursday MLB suggested mediation. MLBPA said no.
So, why did MLB suggest mediation and why did MLBPA not agree to it? There could be a number of reasons for suggesting mediation. There could be genuine desire to meet in the middle/settle differences on MLB’s part. That seems pretty naive though. If that’s their view, why now? Why not offer better than $10M for a bonus pool for prearbitration players who outperform their contracts? Why not move more on the luxury tax threshold or uncoupling the offer of a salary floor from lowering the luxury tax threshold? In other words, there are things they could do to engage the players union without having to involve a third party. Could it be a PR maneuver? Yep, it could. Could it be that they believe a mediator is likely to encourage a deal close to the status quo of the last CBA? Maybe, and status quo is basically what the owners want.
That last line is one possible reason for MLBPA rejecting the idea. They could also remember bringing in a mediator in 1994 and that it did not help. They could see that, with no deal in place now, that spring training is going to start late…that using a mediator will require additional time.
Meanwhile, after a year of talking past each other, the two sides remain far apart with no end in sight.