With the start of Spring Training already delayed, MLB and the Players Association returned to the negotiating table for a crucial week of collective bargaining agreement (CBA) talks at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla.
The two sides have met on consecutive days and plan to continue doing so until a new CBA is in place. Despite communicating more frequently, there hasn’t been much progress thus far, with the league and union still far apart on key economic issues.
That will have to change in a hurry with MLB’s self-imposed deadline of Feb. 28 approaching. If a new CBA isn’t agreed to by then, Opening Day of the regular season could be pushed back from March 31.
While that is what the league has implied in recent negotiations, the players reportedly don’t view the end of February as a hard deadline for which a deal would be needed, via Evan Drellich of The Athletic:
MLB has told the players it thinks that Monday, Feb. 28, is the day by which a deal would be needed to start the regular season on time. Players are skeptical that date is a hard deadline, though.
Neither MLB or the Players Association want to be responsible for the soft Feb. 28 deadline not being met, so they will convene every day this week. While that’s reason for optimism, the expectation remains that unless a new CBA is ironed out in the next five days, regular season games will be lost:
The sides are likely to keep meeting in Florida, for now. Neither the owners nor players want to be the one to shut down the negotiations before that soft Feb. 28 deadline, so they’ll probably bargain each day until then. Unless there’s a breakthrough in the next week, a totally normal season is likely already lost.
With not much movement in the latest round of negotiations, MLB again requested the involvement of a federal mediator, which was rejected by the MLBPA.
Team owners were said to be very underwhelmed by the union’s most recent CBA proposal, which could prove troublesome as the players very clearly are aligned.
More small moves in second day of Florida negotiations
One day after MLB offered to increase their pre-arbitration bonus pool to $20 million and upped the number of teams that would qualify for a Draft lottery to four, the Players Association presented a counterproposal on Tuesday.
The MLBPA responded by asking that only 75% of eligible players reach Super Two status and the first seven picks in the MLB Draft be determined via a lottery. The luxury tax threshold and minimum salaries are among the topics that weren’t addressed.