5:04 AM UTC
Two more days of intense negotiations did not lead to a new collective bargaining agreement between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association.
With no deal in place, MLB announced on Wednesday that a second week of games has been taken off the schedule, bringing the total for each team to four season-opening series that won’t take place during the first two weeks of the season.
Commissioner Rob Manfred issued the following statement:
“In a last-ditch effort to preserve a 162-game season, this week we have made good-faith proposals that address the specific concerns voiced by the MLBPA and would have allowed the players to return to the field immediately. The Clubs went to extraordinary lengths to meet the substantial demands of the MLBPA. On the key economic issues that have posed stumbling blocks, the Clubs proposed ways to bridge gaps to preserve a full schedule. Regrettably, after our second late-night bargaining session in a week, we remain without a deal.
“Because of the logistical realities of the calendar, another two series are being removed from the schedule, meaning that Opening Day is postponed until April 14th. We worked hard to reach an agreement and offered a fair deal with significant improvements for the players and our fans. I am saddened by this situation’s continued impact on our game and all those who are a part of it, especially our loyal fans.
“We have the utmost respect for our players and hope they will ultimately choose to accept the fair agreement they have been offered.”
The two sides appeared to be moving closer to a deal after MLB made moves Tuesday night on the competitive balance tax threshold, the pre-arbitration bonus pool and the minimum salary, but a proposed international draft proved to be the biggest obstacle on Wednesday, sending the league and the union back to the drawing board.
According to a source, MLB proposed to eliminate the qualifying offer system — meaning there would be no more direct Draft-pick compensation for free agents — in exchange for an examination of an international draft. The sides would have until Nov. 15 to decide whether to implement an international draft beginning in 2024; if the MLBPA didn’t agree to an international draft by that date, the league would have the option of re-opening the CBA.
The league also proposed eliminating the international draft option while keeping the qualifying offer system in place, but the MLBPA didn’t agree to either idea.
MLB’s international draft proposal would have included a 5% boost in bonuses for each slot, with the top selection receiving $5.5125 million. The 20-round draft would include more than 600 players, while undrafted players could then sign for up to $20,000. Draft position would not be based on records the way the Rule 4 amateur Draft is, but rather on a rotating basis, per a source.
Wednesday’s proposal from MLB included a move on the CBT threshold beginning at $230 million in 2022. From there, it would rise to $232 million in 2023, $236 million in 2024, $240 million in 2025 and $242 million in 2026. The MLBPA’s most recent ask began with a $232 million threshold in 2022, climbing all the way to $250 million in 2026.
The league’s minimum salary offer now stands at $700,000 in 2022, rising to $770,000 by the fifth year. That leaves MLB just $10,000 shy of the MLBPA’s latest proposal, which starts at $710,000 and escalates to $780,000 by 2026.
MLB also increased its proposal for a pre-arbitration bonus pool from $30 million to $40 million, though the union’s proposal stood at $65 million. The league’s proposal would keep the pool at $40 million each year, while the union’s includes a $5 million increase in each year of the CBA.
Following 17 hours of negotiating on Tuesday, the union asked for time to speak with its board before officially responding to the league’s latest proposal. The MLBPA came back with a response in the form of its own proposal, though the gap between the two sides remained too wide.
original source: Opening Day postponed until April 14 as CBA talks continue