For over one month, Major League Baseball has crawled to a complete standstill amid owners deciding to lock out players upon the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The decision was made on Dec. 2, and it appears as though zero progress has been made on a new deal.
Throughout the month of December, it was repeated that any and all discussions between the league and the MLBPA focused on non-core economic issues. This included things such as playoff expansion, defensive shift regulation, and increased minimum salaries.
The hope was that when January came around, both sides would begin to feel the pressure of Spring Training’s impending start. Finally, there may be some progress on that front, as it was reported on Tuesday morning that a bargaining session has been scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 13, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN:
Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association plan to hold a bargaining session Thursday, sources tell ESPN. MLB is expected to make a core-economics proposal at the session, which would be the first between the sides since the league locked out the players on Dec. 2.
By itself, a scheduled meeting to discuss core economic issues is massive progress from where things stood just within the past week. According to this report, MLB will attend the meeting with a proposal, but it’s unclear if that proposal will be any good.
The two sides have fought relentlessly through the media, with both complaining about the non-starter proposals coming from the other side. Perhaps this is a true first step in the right direction.
More information will likely be available on these negotiations as soon as Thursday or Friday. If there is some progress to report, it’s possible that the beginning of the 2022 MLB season will be salvaged. But if nothing comes of this first meeting, it will further delay hopes of an on-time start.
The NBA knows as well as any league the issues behind CBA negotiations. A lockout delayed the start of the 2011-12, and an NBA source explained why that could happen in baseball too.
Generally, the source felt that there is a primitive mentality behind why things move so slowly, with both sides refusing to budge on their ideas until the last possible second.