In recent talks, baseball owners are making some concessions, but players aren’t impressed

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Unless and until real progress can be made, the shrinking calendar also raises the prospect of regular-season games having to be sacrificed.

Tuesday’s meeting at the Players Association headquarters in midtown Manhattan lasted an hour, an hour shorter than Monday’s meeting. About 25-30 players listened to the meeting between four MLB negotiators and the MLBPA negotiation team via Zoom.

And while Tuesday’s meeting was reportedly less contentious than Monday’s, the tepid reaction from players confirmed the macro view of the negotiations, as the sides inch closer but still remain miles apart.

It’s the players who are seeking the biggest changes in the next collective bargaining agreement, with owners generally happy with the status quo aside from players agreeing to extended playoffs.

The sides agreed to meet again later this week to negotiate deals on more than a dozen non-contentious issues including transaction details, All-Star games and international play.

The union will consider the proposals submitted by the owners over the next few days before scheduling the next economic policy negotiation session.

The owners increased their previous proposal for a higher minimum salary by $15,000 from $600,000 to $615,000 for first-year players. Players are aiming for a starting salary of $750,000. Last season, the minimum salary was $575,500. The $15,000 increase came with a new stipulation that clubs could not increase that salary if they wanted to unless they could negotiate an extension for the player.

Owners claim their minimum wage increase is an all-time high, while the union believes the $615,000 figure is barely keeping pace with inflation.

The owners withdrew their proposal to scrap arbitration for some sophomore players, a move they say represented a significant concession.

The Owners agreed to the player framework for a pool of bonus funds for the top 30 players prior to arbitration and used WAR as the basis for determining those bonus amounts. The owners proposed a bonus pool of $10 million, $95 million less than the players’ proposed bonus pool.

The owners have not made a new proposal to raise the competitive balance tax threshold, nor have they addressed revenue sharing, an issue they believe they are unanimously in favor of not changing at all.

On Monday, players reduced the amount of targeted revenue share cuts by 70 percent from $100 million to $30 million. The total amount of revenue split between the teams annually is estimated at over $400 million. The money flows from big teams to small teams with the intention that those teams use the dollars to improve their performance on the field.

In those talks, the union has not asked for tougher revenue-sharing language to ensure the money is used for salaries, but it has ongoing grievances against three teams for not using the dollars as intended.

The players have agreed to extended playoffs but, for competitive integrity reasons, want to limit the number of teams to 12, two more than the current number and two fewer than the 14-team format the owners are aiming for.


Michael Silverman can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @MikeSilvermanBB.

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