MLB negotiations begin successfully as the lockdown continues

JUPITER, Fla. – For more than five hours here on Monday, some of baseball’s most important figures gathered at Roger Dean Stadium, St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins.

Spring training, should have started last week, has yet to begin as Major League Baseball locked players on December 2 and a new labor agreement has yet to be reached. The on-time start for the 2022 regular season – scheduled for March 31 – is still in the balance.

Recognizing increased urgency, the parties have agreed to gather in Florida this week – perhaps a full week if talks prove productive – beginning on Monday. Although MLB has made incremental moves in the direction of the players and roadblocks remain, the parties have noted how helpful it would be to speak in person and agreed to meet again on Tuesday.

MLB’s latest proposal includes relatively modest adjustments on two issues: increasing the size of the prize pool for players who are not yet qualified to be referees (from $15 million to $20 million for 30 players) and increase the number of amateur draft selections determined by a lottery (from the top three to the top four). The union proposed a $115 million prize pool for 150 players and a draft lottery for the top eight picks.

Among other key areas, there are sizable gaps: the league’s minimum wage, its luxury tax and penalties, the revenue-sharing system between clubs, and the number of eligible players. referee salary. MLB has repeatedly insisted it will not touch the last two items, both of which the union is seeking to change or expand.

On Monday, the parties met for hours but discussed each other for longer. Not only were negotiating teams for the MLB and players’ union present, but also 10 players and two club owners. Owners are Dick Monfort, Colorado Rockies and Ron Fowler, San Diego Padres. Monfort is the chair of the MLB’s labor committee and Fowler is the former chairman.

The players in attendance, all holding leadership positions in the federation: Max Scherzer, Francisco Lindor and Brandon Nimmo of the Mets; Jameson Taillon of the Yankees, Brent Suter of the Milwaukee Brewers, Whit Merrifield of the Kansas City Royals, Sonny Gray of the Cincinnati Reds, Taylor Rogers of the Minnesota Twins, Paul Goldschmidt of the Cardinals and Jason Castro of the Houston Astros. Other players joined the alliance’s internal party sessions via Zoom.

Although some recent negotiations have been held in New York, where both the MLB and the union are headquartered, these negotiations have since moved elsewhere. MLB accepted the union’s request to meet in Florida, where a large number of players live during the off-season.

A potential week of talks in New York would make it difficult for the players to keep practicing, hitting and throwing. And because the deals were finalized last weekend and Monday is a holiday, it is not possible to guarantee a hotel for the negotiations. So the parties moved to the meeting space at Roger Dean Stadium that was not being used.

Before the first indoor meeting at 1pm on Monday, federation officials and players gathered in a stadium parking lot. During the afternoon, more than two dozen fans or autographers stood outside the gate. The two arrived with a sign that said “We want baseball!

Overall, the federation has sought a series of improvements to the economic structure of the sport, with the goal of helping younger players, improving competition between teams, limiting time manipulation. serve and spend more. However, the federation believes the players have a fair system without a hard salary cap and sees it as a matter of wealth distribution – that the star players command more than the others unjustly. symmetrical.

If the sides want to avoid altering the regular season’s schedule, this week could be crucial.

On Friday, MLB announced that the start of spring practice games, originally scheduled for February 26, had been postponed “until no earlier” than March 5. Earlier this month , MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said losing regular games of the season would be “disastrous“For the industry.

He also suggests that a minimum of four weeks of spring training – two weeks shorter than usual – should be avoided. trauma spike, just like before the 2020 regular season shortened the pandemic. Therefore, MLB’s stated priority to reach a new collective bargaining agreement is February 28. MLB negotiations begin successfully as the lockdown continues

Fry Electronics Team

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