Regardless of their home team, fans throughout the MLB landscape have grown frustrated with the snail’s pace of Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations. As of Tuesday, Feb. 15, Spring Training had officially been postponed, and we’re not too far away from the regular season suffering the same fate.
Reportedly, MLB has set a Feb. 28 deadline to have an agreement in place in order to begin the 2022 season on March 31. This is because at least four weeks are needed between the start of Spring Training and the start of the regular season.
An agreement coming together prior to Feb. 28 seems unlikely given the infrequency of bargaining sessions. Proposals have come in at a rate of about one every 5-7 days. However, there are reported plans in place to change this strategy, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN:
While exact plans are not finalized, MLB and the MLB Players Association intend to hold multiple bargaining sessions — perhaps every day — as early as Monday, sources told ESPN. Multiple owners and players expect to fly in for sessions leading up to MLB’s stated Feb. 28 deadline.
On the surface, this appears to be a very simple and obvious declaration. However, ramping up the pace of meetings, according to Passan, could actually provide hope that a deal is on the horizon.
For everyone who’s saying “why not sooner?”: One of the things that’s struck me for months now is a majority of industry people believe a deal could come together very quickly and that things will accelerate at end of February. Monday may not be ideal but offers plenty of time.
If daily meetings begin Monday as reported, that would mean a full week of negotiations before the Feb. 28 deadline. Since the widespread belief is that a deal could come together very quickly once a few bigger issues are ironed out, seven days could be more than enough time.
As it stands, arbitration, service time manipulation, and competitive balance tax appear to be the three biggest issues holding up a new CBA. Outside of that, things like expanded playoffs, universal DH, and minimum salaries appear to be on the verge of an agreement.
Of course, there is always a chance that these talks do not lead to expected progress. But the MLBPA reportedly believes Feb. 28 is more of a soft deadline, and that the season could still start on time if a deal is made in the early days of March.
MLBPA drops “Super 2s” to 80%
The Players Association was hopeful to make 100% of players with two years of service time potentially eligible for arbitration. However, MLB’s number remains significantly lower, causing the players to lower their ask to 80%, while increasing the bonus pool for these players as a compromise.