MLB Rumors: Latest Updates on MLB, MLBPA CBA Negotiations Amid Lockout

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 25, 2022

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 20: Detailed view of a glove and hat in the dugout during the game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on July 20, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association continued negotiations Tuesday over a new collective bargaining agreement, but multiple hurdles remain between the two parties.

ESPN's Jeff Passan reported the minimum salary remains a point of contention. A wide gulf also exists between what MLB and the MLBPA are seeking as the bonus pool for some players who aren't eligible for arbitration:

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

There is no deal today. There never was going to be a deal today.<br><br>The takeaway: A pre-arb bonus pool gets the best young players paid more. Players wanted it, and it's a good thing for them. Players are laughing at the $10M offer. It's far too low. Negotiations will change that.

On Monday, The Athletic's Evan Drellich reported the players union removed one of its bigger demands from the table in order to further negotiations. The union is no longer seeking a new age-based free agency. Instead, six years of service time will likely continue to be required before a player hits the open market.

According to Drellich, MLB deputy commissioner Dan Halem also said the league is prepared to sacrifice some games amid the ongoing lockout. Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith added some context to that report:

Ben Nicholson-Smith @bnicholsonsmith

Realistically, both sides must be prepared to miss games. Otherwise, they box themselves in. As lockout neared, MLBPA outlined player options for health care, $ &amp; training in case of missed games<br><br>So the idea of missed games isn’t new. Doesn’t mean it’ll happen. But interesting

It doesn't appear a new CBA is imminent. 

MLB agreeing to a pre-arbitration bonus pool is a step forward, but coming nearly $100 million short of the MLBPA's figure shows how much is left to resolve there. Travis Sawchik of The Score also explained why the minimum salary could be a big sticking point for the union:

Travis Sawchik @Travis_Sawchik

No other sport leans on its minimum wage labor like MLB. 63.2% of all players to step on the field in 2019 (the most recent year we have complete, full-season data) had less than three years of service time. They accounted for 53.6% of days of service but only 9.8% of pay.

Travis Sawchik @Travis_Sawchik

Just to be clear: MLB's first offer during this CBA negotiation was $600k. League min last year was $575k

Still, fans were probably expecting the worst when MLB owners officially locked the players out on Dec. 2. Drellich followed up Dec. 15 and reported MLB and the MLBPA were "unlikely to talk core economics until January."

Considering the general state of the relationship between the parties, a prolonged standoff seemed inevitable. Based on the reporting from the past two deals, the level of optimism is beginning to rise.

Jim Bowden⚾️ @JimBowdenGM

My take on the negotiations is that despite the MLB and MLBPA being far apart on most core economic issues…at least there is movement on both sides and for the first time there is a pathway for an eventual agreement…although it will take time and be a grind. Progress &amp; Dialogue

Jon Heyman @JonHeyman

Still many hurdles to clear but hope is on the rise after two good days of negotiation between MLB and the union. Both sides have made significant concessions. Still not near a deal but there’s a sliver of light in the tunnel,

Spring training represents the first tangible deadline for a compromise before MLB will have to begin making alterations to the 2022 season. Games are slated to begin Feb. 26.

From there, Opening Day is a little over a month later on March 31.