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Progress Has Been Made, But More to Sort Out Before a New CBA is Finalized

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It’s safe to say the pressure is on and the urgency is being felt between MLB and the MLBPA in their labor negotiations. After meeting for over 16 hours on Monday with 13 face-to-face meetings between the two sides, enough progress was made to push the deadline back to 5 p.m. Tuesday to get a deal done.

One thing that was agreed to on Monday night was a new 12-team playoff format, replacing the 10-team format from previous seasons. Additionally, the luxury tax penalties will remain the same under the new CBA, with taxes of 20% for the first year surpassing the threshold, 32% in year two and 62.5% after that. The league and the union are still apart on the threshold itself, but the gap has decreased.

The league actually suggested that the MLBPA drop their 2018 grievance against the Pirates and three other teams for failing to spend their revenue sharing compensation, however, this is not supposed to be a part of the new CBA. The thinking was that this would alleviate reservations the four smaller market clubs have about increased CBT thresholds.

While agreements have taken place on those two fronts, there are still a number of other components to be sorted out. One issue that has been at the forefront of discussions is minimum salary, and the sides appear to be relatively close on that. The league is offering a $675K minimum while the union wants at least $700K.

For pre-arbitration players, the league has offered a $25M pre-arbitration bonus pool. The league wanted to increase the number of super two players but has dropped that request, meaning the same format of 22% of players will remain in place.

Some other details have emerged that have not necessarily been at the forefront of discussions, but still need to be sorted out none the less. The league is pushing for an international draft instead of the current international free agency system. Regarding the amateur draft, it is almost certain that a draft lottery will be put into place, and the league has increased the number of teams in said lottery from four to five in their latest proposal.

The league is also ready to surrender a big proponent in the eyes of the union, and that is that they are willing to remove draft pick compensation for free agents.  There are still other details that need to be ironed out in addition to what is already made public, though the main components are included.

Both sides have another long day ahead of them on Tuesday with a 5 PM deadline to get a deal done. For the first time throughout this whole process, real progress is being made and both sides appear eager to get a deal done. Whether a deal is agreed to or not before the deadline remains to be seen, but the sides are moving closer to getting it done.

An MLB spokesperson said, “We want to exhaust every possibility to get a deal done.” Tuesday is sure to be a chaotic day in order to make that happen.

MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported the details of minimum salary negotiations as well as pre-arbitration bonus pool and the MLBPA grievance. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported the league dropped their request to increase the number of Super Two players. Evan Drellich of The Athletic reported the news of the international draft, draft lottery and draft pick compensation. 

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