After weeks of virtual silence from both Major League Baseball and the players’ association, the two sides got together on Thursday as MLB made another proposal to the players to attempt to resume negotiations to put an end to the current lockout. According to reports, the latest proposal from the league left a lot to be desired, and the players ended the meeting with very little encouragement, if any at all.
This particular proposal focused on a few different topics, most notable increased pay to younger players with a increased minimum salary ($570,500 to $600,000) with increases in salary before hitting arbitration. One issue not proposed in this proposal was an increase to the luxury tax threshold, which left the players disappointed.
Some of the other issues included in Thursday’s meeting included the draft lottery system, playoff expansion and efforts to deter teams from service time manipulation.
The bottom three teams from the previous system would qualify for the draft lottery, and a team cannot be eligible for the lottery for three consecutive seasons.
Playoffs would be expanded from the current 10 teams to MLB’s ask of 14 teams. The players’ side proposed a 12-team playoff system in past negotiations.
MLB’s efforts to put a stop to service time manipulation focused around awarding draft selections to teams who put their top prospects on their Opening Day roster who end up winning some hardware in terms of Rookie of the Year, MVP, etc. This part of the proposal did not appear to be well-received by the players.
The league now waits the counter-offer from the players’ association. With the clock ticking, there needs to be some urgency with Spring Training set to begin in about one month. The longer the negotiations carry on, the likelier it becomes that the start of Spring Training, and in turn the start of the regular season, will be postponed. At this hour, the risk of missing games is growing stronger and stronger and may even appear more likely than not at this point.
Even though the current state of the negotiations has been lackluster, things can quickly swing the other way at any moment. While many are hoping that happens, all that we can do for now is wait.