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MLB lockdown: MLBPA makes first proposal since canceled games, opens door to rule changes in 2023, report says

MLB lockdown: MLBPA makes first proposal since canceled games, opens door to rule changes in 2023, report says

USATSI

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association met for more than 90 minutes on Sunday. The meeting included the MLBPA making a proposal, the first since MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred canceled the first two rounds of the 2022 schedule last week as the owner-imposed lockdown dragged into a third month and became the first in league history to compromise the regular. season.

Perhaps the most notable development of the union’s proposal is their willingness to give Manfred and the league the ability to implement three on-field changes on just 45 days’ notice, according to Evan Drellich of The Athletic. (Currently, the league must offer the union a year’s notice before such changes.) These three exceptions include the installation of a kick-off clock, larger bases and shift restrictions. The rule changes would not be allowed to take effect until next year or closer to the 2023 season.

ESPN’s Jesse Rogers had reported on Sunday that the league wanted “institute a 14-second pitch clock with the bases empty and a 19-second timer with runners on”, as a way to improve the rhythm between pitches.

Here’s a recap of the rest of MLBPA’s proposal, by Drellich:

  • The union lowered its claim on the pre-arbitration bonus pool, from $85 million to $80 million. The owners had previously proposed a central fund of $30 million, meaning the gap remains significant at $50 million.
  • The union gave up no ground on its demand for the competitive balance tax to start at $238 million and increase to $263 million. The league countered with a CBT threshold that starts at $220 million and slowly climbs to $230 million. This was arguably the most burning issue in the negotiations, with four owners reportedly voting no to the proposal based solely on the CBT threshold.
  • The union also made no move on its demand for a higher league minimum wage of $725,000 with annual increases of $20,000. The league offered a minimum of $700,000 with annual increases of $10,000.
  • The union wants a draft lottery to determine the top six picks each summer to curb anti-competitive behavior. The league wants this lottery to cover only the top five picks.

Drellich added that the union is now fine with “further CBT-related penalties” if “direct draft pick compensation” goes away. Additionally, the union continues to push “certain changes to revenue sharing,” although the league has been unwilling to commit to those throughout the bargaining process.

MLB did not come away impressed. Via The Associated Press:

“We were hoping to see movement in our direction to give us more flexibility and get a deal done quickly,” MLB spokesman Glen Caplin said. “The players’ association chose to come back to us with a proposal that was worse than Monday night and not designed to move the process forward. On some points they even backed off. Simply put, we are in the ‘impasse. We will try to understand how they react, but nothing in this proposal makes things easier.’

The union also offered to meet again on Monday, according to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. It’s not official yet, though.