Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association met for a seventh day in a row Sunday in Jupiter, Florida, and while no agreement was reached for a new collective bargaining agreement, it appears that some progress has been made between the two sides.
Officials from both sides met on five separate occasions over a six-hour period on Sunday, with one league source meeting describing it as “productive.” No other details of the meetings were available.
The parties will meet again Monday morning at 10 ET to continue the haggling, leaving them with one last day to strike a deal before the league deadline arrives. MLB on Monday set a deal deadline for the regular season to open as scheduled on March 31.
Earlier this month, Commissioner Rob Manfred said that based on injury data and experience of the short 2020 pandemic season, spring training should be at least four weeks long so that players can properly prepare for the season.
Among the main issues that remain to be resolved are the pre-arbitration bonus pool, minimum salaries, and competitive credit tax.
On Saturday, the MLB submitted proposals to the MLBPA on both a draft lottery and service time plan, with players making concessions on both issues. MLB’s draft sweepstakes plan will award the top six picks across the lottery while prohibiting big market teams from picking in the top six in consecutive years or any team that picks there in three consecutive drafts.
The MLB’s service time proposal would give a full year of service time to any player who finished first or second in the league’s junior vote – an idea that came from the MLBPA’s own proposal on the same topic.
In exchange for those two elements, MLB required 14 expanded post-season teams, as well as the ability to make changes to on-field bases with 45 days’ notice instead of the current system, which would require either federation approval or one full year of notice. These rule changes will be dealt with by a panel consisting of six administrative officers, two MLBPA representatives and one referee.
As of Saturday, the league was still seeking to expand Super 2 eligibility (from the current 22% to 35% of players with more service time between 2-3 years) and some adjustments to the revenue sharing system. MLB has maintained from the start that any change in these two issues is not a start for the owners.
The players have insisted since the start of negotiations that increasing the salaries of younger players early in their careers is one of the association’s primary goals. Between the league’s proposals for minimum salary increases and a pre-arbitration bonus, MLB has offered more than $250 million in additional compensation to players before arbitration over the course of a five-year agreement.
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