On Sunday, a contingent of people from MLB and the Players Association met to discuss a formal offer. In a first since Commissioner Rob Manfred cancelled the first two series of the 2022 season, the union chose to give their offer to the league.
Of course, it was immediately rejected, despite the MLBPA making several concessions. In fact, some league officials called the proposal a step backwards from where they were in Florida last week. While it’s unclear if that has any merit, some of the details of this offer were revealed.
Among the biggest changes was the union granting Manfred and MLB the power to change certain on-field rules with only 45 days notice, according to Evan Drellich of The Athletic:
The biggest move in Sunday’s proposal from the players to the owners appeared to be outside of core economics. The players agreed, contingent on other things, to an element the league was seeking regarding on-field rule changes: the ability for the commissioner to put in a pitch clock, larger bases or restrictions on the shift, as early as the 2023 season.
The Players Association also dropped its proposed starting point for a pre-arbitration bonus pool to $80 million, down from $85 million.
MLB spokesperson Glen Caplin responded to this offer publicly, again reiterating that the players have moved backwards since their talks in Florida.
“We were hoping to see some movement in our direction to give us additional flexibility and get a deal done quickly,” MLB spokesperson Glen Caplin said Sunday afternoon. “The Players Association chose to come back to us with a proposal that was worse than Monday night and was not designed to move the process forward.
“On some issues, they even went backwards. Simply put, we are deadlocked. We will try to figure out how to respond, but nothing in this proposal makes it easy.”
The MLBPA strongly denied this accusation. And on the surface, they appear to be right to do so. The union made a major concessions with the on-field rule changes, giving MLB unilateral power to implement a pitch clock, restrict the shift, and increase the base size with only 45 days notice.
They also dropped their pre-arbitration pool by $5 million. In total, they have lowered they pre-arb asking price by over $20 million, while MLB has only raised their offer by $10 million total since the initial negotiation on the subject.
Of course, the union felt that by giving MLB all of the on-field power, they would keep their luxury tax threshold where it is, effectively acting as a trade. Nothing seems out of the ordinary in this offer, but it’s unsurprising to see MLB react in this way.
Hopefully, MLB can return with a good faith offer sooner rather than later. Otherwise, the game cancellation total will continue to rise.
Angels owner against CBT increases
There were only four owners opposed to raising the luxury tax threshold to $220 million, an already paltry offer. Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno was one of the four, citing worries about being even further out-spent by big market teams like the L.A. Dodgers and New York Mets.