Prior to Sunday, MLB and the Players Association had met on six consecutive days to negotiate a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. However, even six consecutive days of talks have not led to significant progress.
The union has conceded a number of issues, overhauling their pre-arbitration bonus pool, meeting MLB in the middle on expanded playoffs and draft lottery, and making smaller changes on revenue sharing and competitive balance tax.
Each time they’ve done this — including a comprehensive offer on Saturday — the league and its ownership rejects them outright, offering pennies to the dollar as a response. Reports from Saturday were so negative, that is was believed the Players Association considered walking away outright.
Despite that, there are still some sources who believe a deal is within striking distance should MLB and the union make one final concession, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network:
Contradictory to all the negativity/ upset surrounding the MLB/players talks, one person involved said he believes the sides are now “within striking distance” and a deal could be done be tomorrow night. Luxury tax remains the sticky issue but a 225/230M threshold should work.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 27, 2022
While this certainly sounds like progress, veteran New York Yankees pitcher Zack Britton almost immediately refuted this report.
This is not accurate.
— Zack Britton (@zbritton) February 27, 2022
At this point, each side is going to do whatever it takes to gain leverage in talks. If an MLB source reports that the two sides are within striking distance and a deal doesn’t happen, it would be very easy for that MLB source to blame the players.
For the union, the smart move is absolutely to immediately deny these rumors. Unlike past negotiations, they players have done a much better job using the media to their advantage, with public opinion leaning towards the union in a way it hadn’t before.
There remain two more days of negotiation between the two sides before MLB’s game cancellation deadline takes place. At that point, we’ll see which side was telling the truth and if MLB is bluffing on their threat.
MLB makes intentionally lousy offer
On Saturday, following a comprehensive offer from the Players Association, MLB responded with what many could describe as an insult. Their counter-offer on competitive balance tax was so bad, it was almost a joke.
In fact, that’s exactly what MLB was planning for. Reports say this lousy offer was intentional as a response to what they felt was a lackluster CBT offer from the union.