Major League Baseball (MLB) has set a new deadline of early afternoon, Wednesday, March 9, for the Players Association to accept a new pay proposal after no agreement could be reached late into Tuesday night. Negotiations have remained unsuccessful as neither side can make a mutual decision on pay, schedule, and service time.
Monday, March 7, saw a lot of activity, including several Zoom calls with the 30 team owners to agree upon an offer. The talks reflected the urgency of those a week ago in Jupiter, Florida. While progress was made over those nine days, a deal was not struck.
USA Today reports that a critical element in Monday’s discussion was the league increasing the luxury tax threshold from $220 million to $228 million this year, then up to $238 million by the end of the agreement. This increase is reported to have a lot of strings attached, and a player stated that Monday’s proposals shifted too far in favor of the league over the players. Another player active in the union stated, “I’m done getting my hopes up.”
The figure of $238 million for the tax threshold is the last number players wanted to start with, ending with $263 million by the end of the deal. The other two main points of the negotiations are the minimum salary and the pre-arbitration pool. The MLB did relent a 14-team postseason pool and agreed on the 12 teams the union had insisted upon throughout talks.
Per The Atlantic, if the current deal is not accepted by Wednesday, MLB owners will likely be unwilling to play a full 162-game schedule or grant players full pay and full service time. It could also prompt the MLB to cancel another week of games with players forfeiting pay. Yet, as the owners might insist that players do not receive full service time if the deadline isn’t met, players could expect to ask for this time regardless of season length. Both sides being permitted to take whichever stance they choose and negotiating a solution has resulted in the current stalemate.
On Sunday, MLB spokesman Glen Caplin said, “Simply put, we are deadlocked. We will try to figure out how to respond, but nothing in this proposal makes it easy.”
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has postponed Opening Day and canceled the first two series of the 2022 season. These seasons can be rescheduled if Opening Day is later than March 31 as currently scheduled.