Once again, MLB leadership is gambling the start of the season on negotiations
Updated: Mar 3
February has begun. The shadow of Punxsutawney Phil was spotted, predicting six more weeks of winter. It's apt - the furry little weatherman's augury of spring arriving late also predicts the arrival of spring training and the 2022 MLB season will be delayed. Permafrost has settled between owners and union, with no thaw in sight.
Rosenthal and Drellich offered bleak assessments of CBA negotiations on Monday. The two sides appear to be at odds on a far greater number of issues than those on which they can find agreement, like minimum salary, arbitration, and pre-arbitration bonus pools, luxury tax, draft lotteries, and service time manipulation. Rosenthal and Drellich conclude that the season may be delayed if spring training is delayed.
In many ways, this reporting is consistent with what we've heard since the lockout began, with the two sides in a holding pattern and little progress toward a resolution. It is some of the language being used by the owners to describe negotiation tactics that really caught my attention this time.
Meanwhile, the league has not moved on non-negotiable items such as time to free agency and revenue sharing, despite the union reducing some of its demands. It is clearly bad faith on the part of the league. There are nominal increases to minimum salaries, a pre-arb bonus pool that divides out to only $333,333 per team, the elimination of draft-pick compensation for free agents (which affects only a handful of people) and a universal day of rest. They are asking for expanded playoffs, advertising patches, and sports betting in exchange, which could yield hundreds of millions in increased revenues. Players claim the league provides them with financial gains, but these increases pale in comparison to the potential gains should the league's owners attain their most coveted goals.