Major League Baseball and MLB Players Association plan to hold multiple bargaining sessions next week, sources say

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association intend to hold multiple bargaining sessions — possibly daily — beginning Monday, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Although exact plans are not finalized, several owners and players expect to fly for sessions leading up to the Feb. 28 deadline indicated by MLB.

Meanwhile, a negotiating session between MLB and the players’ union lasted just 15 minutes on Thursday and produced little progress toward a new collective bargaining agreement, sources familiar with the matter told ESPN.

The union has offered adjustments to its arbitration demands while asking MLB for more money in a pre-arbitration bonus pool, sources say.

A three-man MLB delegation led by Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem arrived shortly before 1 p.m. ET for just the sixth session of core economic negotiations since the work stoppage began in December. The sides met on the 78th day of the lockout and a day after the scheduled start of spring training, but sources told ESPN neither side believed there was much progress in the negotiations.

Players have expressed anger at MLB’s lack of movement on the competitive balance tax, while the league has expressed frustration at the union’s lack of counter-offer on the game’s key economic issues, according to reports. sources.

MLB expects a proposal Friday on several non-core economic issues. Halem and chief union negotiator Bruce Meyer had a 20-minute side chat on Thursday after the bargaining session, a one-on-one meeting that was described as unusually candid.

In its new proposal, the union has asked for 80% of players with two years of service to enter the arbitration system, up from a previous request of 100%. Currently, 22% of second-year players – known as Super 2 – go into refereeing.

Under the new offer, 20% of second-year players would remain in pre-arbitration, but the union also increased its demand to $115 million in the pre-arbitration bonus pool for the top 150 players. MLB is offering $15 million to the top 30 players according to WAR.

The union had previously requested $100 million in the pool, but also wanted all players with two years of service to go to arbitration.

Arbitration is just one major issue that needs to be resolved before an agreement can be reached.

There was no discussion on Thursday on key issues such as luxury tax thresholds and rates, minimum wage, the union’s proposal to cut revenue sharing and player allegations of game manipulation. service time. The teams remain far apart in all of those areas and also differ in the playoffs: the owners want to expand the playoffs from 10 teams to 14, while the players are proposing 12.

The owners locked out the players Dec. 2 after the last collective bargaining agreement expired. With spring games scheduled to start Feb. 26, there is fleeting hope that all games will be played in Arizona or Florida this month. Spring camps must open in early March for the regular season to start on time.

The union told MLB it is ready to meet daily next week.

ESPN’s Joon Lee and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Andrew B. Reiter