Frustrating, bad-faith, disaster — some of the words to describe labor negotiations between MLB and the MLBPA, and justified. After instilling a lockout back in the beginning of December, the league then took a six-week holiday vacation before making their first proposal to the players’ association. Maybe if they didn’t wait so long, this situation could have been avoided. Alas, here we are.
No matter how you look at it, these labor negotiations have looked awful for Major League Baseball. Fans are ticked off, some might even never come back. It’s hard to blame the players, though maybe there is a little bit of the blame there in some form or another. Most of the blame, in the eyes of many, place it on the owners who are coming across as greedy. Commissioner Rob Manfred, for his faults, is more or less a puppet of the owners and he has to advocate for their wishes.
After originally announcing the first two series of the regular season would be cancelled, MLB has now said that the sides have one more chance at a full slate of games if they can agree to a deal by Tuesday night. The league made another proposal to the union on Monday with increases to the CBT threshold.
If no deal is reached by Tuesday, not only will the schedule have less than 162 games, but player compensation and service time then come into play, which will further complicate the negotiations making an agreement even more difficult.
It’s time for good-faith negotiations from the league. It’s time for the owners to stop thinking about their pockets, and start thinking about the reputation of the league, the league that has enabled their “investments” of purchasing a team skyrocket since taking over the reigns. If the regular season gets delayed and games are cancelled, fans will walk away and some won’t come back — just like with the 1994-95 strike.
The main components holding up an agreement are varying degrees of close. The two sides are close on minimum salary and the number of teams in the new draft lottery. They’ve gotten closer on the CBT threshold though more work needs to be done there, as with the pre-arbitration bonus pool.
If no deal is reached by Tuesday’s deadline, not only will fans be alienated, but this whole situation is going to get even uglier. The game needs an agreement. The fans need an agreement. The players need a (fair) agreement, and whether the owners realize it or not, they need an agreement more than anyone. If no deal is in place, we are one step closer from turning America’s pastime into America’s passed-time.