MLB Lockout Rumors: League Willing To Increase Luxury Tax If MLBPA Shows ‘Flexibility’ In Other Parts Of CBA
MLB Lockout 1
(Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

After being unable to reach a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) at Roger Dean Stadium, MLB deputy commissioner Dan Halem and MLBPA lead negotiator Bruce Meyer held an informal meeting late last week in New York.

It was followed by the Players Association presenting their latest CBA counteroffer on Sunday. According to reports, the MLBPA lowered their ask with a pre-arbitration bonus pool and agreed to several rule changes starting with the 2023 season.

Despite making major concessions, the league characterized the union’s proposal as a step in the wrong direction. The sides nevertheless will meet again on Tuesday, which is the deadline for a new CBA to be in place if the players hope to play a 162-game season and receive full pay.

One subject MLB and the MLBPA must find common ground on is the competitive balance tax. According to Evan Drellich of the The Athletic, the league has shown a willingness to increase the luxury tax if certain conditions are met:

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirmed that MLB is only willing to raise the luxury tax if the MLBPA shows flexibility in other parts of the CBA:

The people with knowledge of the league’s thinking, however, said Sunday that agreement on the thresholds would be possible if the union showed flexibility in other parts of the deal. The union says it demonstrated that flexibility with its latest proposal to the league. League spokesman Glen Caplin disagreed, saying, “On some issues, they even went backwards” — a point strongly denied by a union official.

The union continues to ask for a competitive balance tax line of $238 million for the 2022 season and increase to $263 million by the final year of the CBA.

During negotiations at the beginning of March, the league countered at $220 million for the 2022, 2023 and 2024 seasons; $224 million in 2025 and $230 million in 2026.

MLB presumably wants the union to continue lowering their ask with a pre-arbitration bonus pool while also agreeing to implement a 14-team expanded postseason to justify increasing the luxury tax.

What rule changes did MLBPA agree to?

The MLBPA reportedly gave approval for MLB to introduce a pitch clock, restrict the shift and increase the base size beginning with the 2023 season in their latest CBA offer. One rule change that did not make the cut is an automated strike zone, which the league also sought.

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