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MLBPA left ‘underwhelmed’ by latest CBA talks

MLB met with players’ association on 12th February but reports suggest little progress.

14 February 2022 Rory Jones

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  • MLB owners voted to enforce a lockout on 2nd December
  • League increased pre-arbitration bonus from US$10m to US$15m in latest offer
  • Opening day of 2022 season set for 31st March but MLB cannot get underway without new CBA

Officials at Major League Baseball (MLB) met with the league’s players’ association (MLBPA) on 12th February for talks to end the ongoing lockout with a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), but reports suggest little progress was made.

Various US media outlets said that talks ended after just one hour, with the MLBPA left ‘underwhelmed’ by the meeting, according to The Athletic.

The meeting on 12th February was the first in-person bargaining session since the owners unanimously agreed to enter a lockout on 2nd December. MLB spring training camps are set to start imminently and the opening day of the 2022 season is slated for 31st March, but ESPN reports that the two sides are ‘extremely far apart’ on an agreement, with the latest proposal not addressing the MLBPA’s demands on revenue sharing or arbitration years.

MLB said that it offered two options over a new CBA in its latest proposal. The first would see players receive a minimum salary of US$630,000 for the 2022 season. This would also not be capped, allowing teams to offer other discretionary raises. The US$59,500 uptick would almost match the minimum salary increase seen over the duration of the previous CBA.

The second proposal includes a tiered salary system, in which first year players would be paid a minimum of US$615,000, while those in their second year would receive US$650,000, and those with two years or more experience earn US$725,000.

The league says the latter of these is an increase of US$15,000 on its last offer. Compared to the US$570,500 minimum salary under the previous CBA, players would receive a 16 per cent wage increase over their first three years in MLB.

MLB also increased its bonus pool offering for players in their first three years in the league, adding another US$5 million to its previous US$10 million proposal.

The league also said it made offers related to the luxury tax system and incentivising clubs not to manage ‘service time’ for top draft prospects.

Prior to Saturday’s meeting, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told reporters that he was confident of agreeing a new CBA before the 2022 season begins on 31st March.

“I am an optimist and I believe we will have an agreement in time to play our regular schedule,” he said.

“I see missing games as a disastrous outcome for this industry, and we’re committed to making an agreement in an effort to avoid that.”

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