MLB Closing: Timeline of CBA negotiations between MLBPA and owners as both sides begin crucial week

Shooters and anglers were supposed to report to their teams’ camps in Florida and Arizona earlier this month, marking the official start of spring training. Instead, the owner-imposed shutdown of Major League Baseball is approaching its three-month anniversary, and business interruptions are beginning to jeopardize the start of the regular season. For now, the opening day remains scheduled for March 31. In an effort to land a new CBA, the MLB and MLBPA are set to hold daily meetings this week.

The MLB reportedly considers February 28 as the last date the two sides can reach an agreement without delaying the opening day.

Looking back and forth, here at CBS Sports we wanted to offer a crash course on lockdown. Below, you’ll find a timeline of events, as well as details on what both sides are asking for and what was agreed, and a note on what happens next.

Closing schedule

December 2nd: The shutdown began shortly after midnight on December 2, or with the official expiration of the previous Anti-Corruption Agreement. Commissioner Rob Manfred announced in a statement that 30 owners voted unanimously to support the shutdown: “We hope the shutdown will lead to the start of negotiations and bring us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time.”

January 13: Despite Manfred’s claim that they intended to shutdown in order to “spur” negotiations, the league waited more than six weeks to present its first proposal, to come on Thursday, January 13. at the minimum salary; tweaks to offset draft pick; And amendments to the draft lottery system to be implemented to reduce the reservoirs.

24, 25 January: The two sides met, on successive days this time, with the union rejecting most, if not all, the Association’s proposal during those sessions. During these meetings, the two sides made concessions on various issues. Players moved away from the age-based free agency request and prior arbitration, and the league rescinded its original request to get rid of the “Super Two” tier of the arbitration system.

1 February: The two parties met for 90 minutes to discuss core economic issues again. This meeting was highlighted by the MLBPA’s lowering of its requests as it relates to curbing manipulation of service time and the size of the bonus pool earmarked for awarding high-performing players who were in the pre-arbitration phase of their careers. Players submitted 12 expanded post-season teams and a selected global hitter.

3 February: MLB has requested the assistance of a federal broker to resolve the shutdown. The union declined to participate the next day, on February 4, citing MLB’s failure to deliver the counter-proposal it had previously promised. “The clearest path to a just and timely agreement is to return to the negotiating table,” the MLBPA statement read.

February 10: Manfred addresses the media for the first time during the lockdown. He has not announced an official postponement of spring training as expected, and once again expresses optimism that a deal will be struck before compromising on the season.

February 17: The Consortium presents its latest proposals for the CBA Framework. In it, the players ease their demand for salary arbitration after two years by suggesting instead that they significantly expand their premium pool. Also, players request to expand the set of bonuses discussed to players prior to judging.

February 18: The MLB has officially announced that the start of spring training will be delayed by one week, from February 26 to March 5. The start of the regular season.

February 21: The MLB and MLBPA met in Florida, although the league hasn’t suggested major changes. The two sides are expected to meet every day this week.

What the parties want, go from

The MLBPA’s focus is on funneling more money to younger players (by increasing the minimum salary and stabilizing the bonus pool before arbitration), and on curbing anti-competitive strategies. The union dropped free agency requests based on age as well as previous eligibility for arbitration. They’ve also scaled back their proposals as they relate to revenue sharing, which is a hot topic in these conversations.

Meanwhile, the league and owners want to expand the post-season to 14 teams. While they have dropped requests to cancel the “Super Two” phase of the judging process, the league’s latest proposal has sought the ability to scale back minor leagues if they wish after the 2022 season.

Otherwise, the two sides remain at odds over competitive balance tax thresholds and penalties (the owners’ recent proposal on this front represents a radical departure from the norm); exact increase in the minimum salary; And the size of the reward pool before arbitration.

What did they agree to?

Negotiations weren’t a complete waste of time. The two sides agreed on global DH; to implement the lottery project (although the specific details are still unknown); And to eliminate the buyer side of the draft selection compensation, which means teams will be able to sign players without losing picks.

What will come next

The two sides will meet daily during the week of February 21-25, the first time during the lockdown that any sense of urgency has been expressed. However, no one is guessing when he is likely to strike a deal.

A week of spring games has already been canceled, and as noted in the introduction, regular season games are in jeopardy. The MLB indicated that February 28 is the latest agreement to be reached without delaying the opening day, although the MLBPA may not agree. Does the March 2 deal, for example, delay the regular season? I bet against it, but we’ll see.

If the regular season is affected by the shutdown, it would be the first time the MLB has missed matches due to a business interruption since 1995.

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