On Thursday, Major League Baseball’s owners and players had their first CBA negotiations since the lockout began back on December 2nd. The owners made a proposal, but it doesn’t seem like any common ground was found between the two sides. The session lasted about an hour, according to The Associated Press, and MLB hoped their proposal would at least ‘generate momentum.’
Jeff Passan of ESPN first reported on Wednesday that the two sides would meet the following day. Jeff, fittingly, had a recap of that meeting shortly after it concluded.
Baseball labor update: There is no deal. There never was going to be one today. MLB made a proposal. The reaction among the players was not positive. Few on either side expected it to be. The question is how soon the MLBPA counters. Spring training starting on time is in peril.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 13, 2022
Other bits of supporting information came out Thursday afternoon from many reporters, including Susan Slusser, Ben Nicholson-Smith, and Jon Heyman.
universal DH was proposed and seems ok for both sides, I'm told. unless tied to something else as a bargaining chip, almost assuredly would go through.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) January 13, 2022
Also heard MLB’s offer to players today included 14 teams in playoffs— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) January 13, 2022
That's arguably players' biggest bargaining chip: owners clearly want expanded playoffs.
MLB remans dead set against lowering free agency from 6 years to 5. Part of the concern stems from the history of the big stars jumping from smaller markets to big markets when they hit free agency and belief this would hurt competitive balance.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 13, 2022
There were several topics that came up in MLB’s proposal to the players on Thursday, in addition to the DH, expanded playoffs, and lowering of free agency years noted above.
MLB owners want a draft lottery consisting of the three teams with the worst records; the players want a draft lottery, too, but with eight teams instead of three. Another piece of the proposal is tied into prospects and service time. If a team has a top-100 ranked prospect who finishes in the top 5 in voting for the games’ major awards (such as MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year) during one of his arbitration years, his team would receive an extra draft pick. So, knowing that an additional draft pick may result, teams may be more likely to promote their top prospects sooner, rather than hold them back due to service time reasons.
Generally, in a normal year, pitchers and catchers would report to Spring Training about a month from now. Spring Training tickets are on sale, and the Cardinals’ first exhibition game is scheduled for Saturday, February 26th. Opening Day of the MLB season is scheduled for Thursday, March 31st — exactly 11 weeks separated from a meeting between the owners and players that seemingly accomplished very little.
Hopefully, the two sides can avoid another 42-day gap in conversation, and we will have another meeting to talk about soon.