Officials from Major League Baseball and the MLBPA met for the second straight day on Tuesday and reportedly made some progress on some of the game’s core economic issues. How much progress was achieved is up for debate, but it does look like some parameters are being put in place, even if the two sides are still way apart in a lot of areas.
The union had been seeking to raise the minimum salary in an effort to get younger players paid more earlier in their careers. The Athletic’s Evan Drellich reported Tuesday that the league offered to raise the minimum salary for players with 0-to-1 year of service time to $615,000. They had previously proposed $600,000 so that was only a modest increase.
MLB proposed today to raise the minimum salary for players with 0 to 1 year of service time to $615,000. Previously had proposed $600,000. No change to 1-2 years (650k) or 2-3 (700). MLB also withdrew its proposals to eliminate salary arbitration for any group— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) January 25, 2022
The players are reportedly looking to raise minimum salary on first-year players to $775,000 so there is still a gap there.
The league also dropped its proposals to change arbitration and end Super Two status for players, per the Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes. Arbitration is another sticking point for the union. The players would like to shorten the time it takes for players to get to arbitration, but the league hasn’t been willing to discuss that so far.
MLB is dropping its proposals to change arbitration and end Super Two, per a person familiar with today’s proposal. Have also agreed to union’s idea of a bonus pool, funded by central revenue, to reward players with less than three years service time who win awards, hit WAR marks— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) January 25, 2022
One compromise in the area of arbitration-type payments could be a potential pre-arbitration bonus pool for players who finish in the Top 30 in WAR. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the league accepted the parameters to such a system but both sides are way off in the amount of the bonus pool. The players are looking for $105 million while the league offered $10 million. A $10 million bonus pool would probably offer comparatively little in terms of extra compensation to the relevant players, while $105 million would make for potentially huge payouts for superlative performance among young superstars.
Still, this is an aspect of the negotiations that shouldn’t be overlooked. One of the players priorities is to get younger players paid more and this system should accomplish that goal. The money figures are way off, but that is something to further negotiate on.
There is no deal today. There never was going to be a deal today.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 25, 2022
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.
After two days of negotiations, it seems that there was some progress made, but there is still a lot of work left to do and the clock is ticking. There is no official word yet on when the two sides will meet again. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the next meeting will take place soon, and maybe even later this week to at least discuss non-core economic issues, but given the source, take it how you will.
We will update this article if more details from Tuesday’s meeting become available. Stay tuned.
Update - MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that revenue sharing was discussed and that the union softened its stance, but the league remains adamant that no new changes come to the system.
MLB players union offered to decrease the revenue sharing increase they requested (from big markets to small) from $100M to $30M. MLB meanwhile is staying steadfast in saying revenue sharing formula will remain the same. Management source predicts union will give this up in trade— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 25, 2022
Update - Here is a reminder that we are still a long way from a deal
I asked a source with knowledge of today’s bargaining session about perceived movement from MLB on talks and source said “I’d hesitate to call it movement. The players’ reaction to this universally was, ‘What the f-, are you kidding me?’— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) January 25, 2022