MLB, players’ association plan to meet again Tuesday after teams make progress, sources say
Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association plan to meet again on Tuesday after a Monday negotiation session that led to the first progress between the parties since the league locked players on Dec. 2, sources told ESPN on Monday. .
In the face-to-face meeting, which lasted about two hours, the union presented a blanket proposal in which it dropped its request for free agency based on age and drastically reduced the amount of revenue sharing it would receive. had asked the league to channel away from small-market teams, the sources said.
The day before the lockout, MLB had asked the union to remove three items from its wish list: change the reserve period of six years before free agency, lower eligibility for arbitration to two years and adjust revenue sharing. When the MLBPA refused to do so, negotiations ended and the league implemented the lockout, the sport’s first work stoppage in more than a quarter century.
At Monday’s meeting, the union rejected three MLB proposals from the parties’ first post-lockdown meeting 11 days ago, sources said. MLB proposed a formula-based salary system for players between two and three years of service, a selection reward for the success of players who started on the opening day rosters, and a slight modification of a draft lottery in which all non-playoff teams would be eligible to receive a top three pick.
The players remained steadfast in a number of their positions on Monday, sources said, including raising the minimum wage from $570,500 a year to $775,000, raising the competitive balance tax threshold from $210 million to $245 million and instituting a draft lottery among non-playoff teams for the top eight picks.
The dropping of the age-based free agency request, which would make some players eligible for free agency earlier than the current standard of six years, helped set the stage for Tuesday’s meeting. After asking teams in smaller markets to receive $100 million less in revenue sharing in an earlier proposal, the union reduced its demand to $30 million, sources say.
The small meeting of four people from each party included MLB’s Dan Halem and MLBPA’s Bruce Meyer, the chief negotiators, as well as longtime reliever and union leader Andrew Miller and Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort, who is the head of the league’s labor relations committee.
Time is quickly becoming a factor in negotiations, with spring training expected to begin in mid-February. While a postponement of spring training is unlikely to significantly alter the trajectory of the talks, the specter of losing regular season games — which begin March 31 — should play a role.