MLB and the Players Association met on consecutive days last week to continue discussing core economics. While both sides attempted to make concessions, there wasn’t much progress made on a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
With Spring Training camps scheduled to open in roughly two weeks, the league and union returned to the negotiating table on Tuesday for another round of talks. The belief is that a new deal would need to be reached this week to ensure players report on time.
According to Evan Drellich of The Athletic, not much was accomplished in the latest meeting between MLB and the Players Association, increasing the likelihood that the start of Spring Training will be delayed:
A 90-minute meeting between Major League Baseball and the Players Association was heated Tuesday, and the sides remain very far apart with the normal report time for pitchers and catchers about two weeks away, sources told The Athletic.
The heated discussions weren’t without the Players Association budging on some of their demands. The union adjusted its pre-arbitration bonus pool proposal, outlined changes for benchmarks that would amount to accruing a full year of service time and implemented MLB’s idea of awarding draft picks to teams who promote their top prospects:
The union, which is trying to get more money to younger players not yet eligible for arbitration, changed its pre-arbitration bonus pool proposal to $100 million. That is a $5 million decrease from its original proposal. The league’s most recent offer was $10 million.
Regarding service-time manipulation, the union has proposed a system where a player who might not normally get a year of service time would be credited with one year if they reach certain thresholds and levels of performance.
The union also incorporated and modified an element of MLB’s proposal on service-time manipulation, dangling a draft pick to teams as an incentive for not holding a player in the minor leaguers.
While the Players Association lowered their ask for a pre-arbitration bonus pool, the figure remains substantially higher than the $10 million team owners proposed.
As for the service time issue, the MLBPA previously wanted players who finish in the top 10 in cumulative WAR at their position to qualify, and top 30 for starting pitchers and relievers.
Significant movement on new CBA ‘unlikely’ until mid-to-late February
Given the amount of time needed to run a shortened Spring Training and ensure proper COVID-19 protocols, sources believe that significant movement on a deal is unlikely to take place until the second half of February.