Lockout: Negotiations Proceeding at Glacial Speed

Last week Rob Manfred stated he expected “movement” on Saturday, that the owners would make a “good” offer, and that negotiations were “only one breakthrough away” from real progress. Then that offer was made Saturday, and was met with incredulity.

Let’s look at a few of the items in the proposal. One is the proposed prearbitration pool, to put more money in the pockets of high-performing young players via bonuses from MLB. In the new offer for the owners, the proposed pool would be $15M, up from $10M. The players had previously lowered their recommendation to $100M, from $105M. If each side takes turns upping/lowering offers by $5M in alternating weeks, there will be an agreement in June.

The owners upped the CBT (luxury tax) threshold by $2M, still far lower than what the players wanted. The owners did offer to bump the draft pick penalty to $20M above the CBT threshold. They also offered to eliminate recidivism penalties, which would at least obviate the need for teams to dump payroll periodically to get under the threshold when planning to potentially spend more on free agency the following year.

The owners moved a little, but only a little, on prearbitration player salaries. They did not move on when arbitration eligibility would begin.

Spring training has now been delayed. Spring training games are supposed to begin Feb 26—not happening. A deal would have to be in place basically as of today. We’re two weeks away from the start of the regular season being in jeopardy. Manfred last week said he is optimistic—I wasn’t, the latest offer gives me little reason to be.

(Currently no meetings are scheduled between the two sides. Expect an official MLBPA response sometime this week.)

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