Report: MLB, MLBPA Unlikely to Discuss 'Core Economics' Until January Amid Lockout

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 16, 2021

UKRAINE - 2021/08/30: In this photo illustration a Major League Baseball (MLB) logo is seen on a smartphone screen. (Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

It doesn't seem like the Major League Baseball lockout will come to an end any time soon.

Evan Drellich of The Athletic reported the league and players' association are not expected to discuss "core economics" for the next collective bargaining agreement until after the holiday season sometime in January.

It should be noted that there is an in-person meeting scheduled for Thursday to discuss smaller issues, but topics such as the competitive-balance tax and arbitration years will apparently be tabled until next month.

Drellich noted commissioner Rob Manfred previously said the league made a proposal "that if it had been accepted, I believe would have provided a pretty clear path to make an agreement."

However, Bruce Meyer, who is the union's lead negotiator, suggested the players' association made a "major proposal" that the league did not counter.

While that muddies the water some on which side will actually make the next proposal, Drellich said the fact that "there's little compelling them to change their positions at this point" is one explanation why the two sides are not expected to discuss the major issues prior to January.

Spring training is not scheduled until February, and the actual regular season will not begin until late March. That means there is still plenty of time to negotiate, even if it could lead to a busy January with both sides exchanging offers.

Still, there is some reported pessimism about the possibility of missing games.

Kevin Goldstein of FanGraphs said in a chat that he's "starting to think we'll miss some games. Not a huge chunk, but I don't think either side is going to get down to brass taxes until there is real pressure, and think we could end up playing 154 or something."

For now, there is a pause after a flurry of free agents agreed to deals right before the lockout started on Dec. 2. There is plenty to negotiate and a number of remaining free agents who will then need to sign deals with new teams, but don't expect any major progress until January at the earliest.