The lockout has lasted 3 months. MLB’s self-imposed deadline to reach a deal without impacting Opening Day has come and gone—now we wait to see if the March 31 games are indeed cancelled.
The owners supposedly made their “best offer” at 4PM, and it was almost immediately rejected by the players as it remained far from what was being requested. So, how can they get past the impasse?
As I posted in the last article, the owners finally offered a minimum salary of $700K with $10K increases per annum. The players should take that. It’s not the $775K they wanted and deserved based on league income and other pro leagues’ minimums, but it’s a whole lot better than last year’s $570K.
The owners’ pre-arb bonus pool offer topped out at $30M. The players lowest ask was $85M. My thought—adding $20M to the owners’ offer to get to $50M, then add $3M/year. At the end or 5 years the bonus pool would be $65M—which is also what you get if you deduct $20M from the players’ ask. Thus, the pool meets in the middle between the owners and players. Now, the players do give up a bit more than the owners in that they also wanted annual increases from $85M as a starting point. However, this is a new benefit for the young players that has never existed before. They should take this offer if it’s extended and call it a major win.
The owners have never budged on Super 2 eligibility. The players shouldn’t worry about it if they get a sufficient pre-arb bonus pool—see above.
The owners want to tie the bonus pool to limiting the new draft lottery to the first 5 picks and to expanding the playoffs to 12 times. Fine. The players should not gripe over one less draft slot than previously agreed upon and a 12 team playoff was their counter proposal to the owners wanting a 14 team playoff anyway.
I would tell the players to take the owners’ CBT (luxury tax) thresholds in exchange for: keeping the punishments the same as the last collective bargaining agreement and a $70M salary floor. The owners should pounce on this if offered. Only two teams exceeded the CBT last year anyway, so hardening the de facto cap that the luxury tax has been made into really shouldn’t matter. The dollars on the owners’ offered CBT is a raise much lower than either inflation or baseball’s income increases. On the other hand, multiple teams have dipped below $70M as part of “tear down and rebuild” strategies and some teams live there. (The Pirates were at about $50M in 2021.)
Now, the owners haven’t budged at all on the CBT, have insisted on making it a harder cap than ever with no guarantees for the players and with increases that are disproportionately small. If they continue to be intransigent here, then the players should call their bluff about being willing to forgo a month of the season to get what they want. In that scenario, the players should absolutely withdraw agreement for expansion of the playoffs and ads on the uniform…see if the owners really don’t mind blowing off $1.25G over five years.
Anyone else have any thoughts?