Major League Baseball Work Stoppage Almost Certain On Dec. 2

It was both striking and yet not unsurprising that Major League Baseball and the Players Association could describe the start of a lockout so differently.

Take, for instance, the final day of collective bargaining on Wednesday, when talks broke off in the afternoon more than 10 hours before the owners moved for a work stoppage.

“We made a proposal yesterday that I believe if it had been accepted, would have provided a pretty clear path to make an agreement,” commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday.

But the union’s lead negotiator, Bruce Meyer, said that the union didn’t view Manfred’s offer from Wednesday as even an actual proposal.

“They proposed to make a proposal, if we would in advance agree to drop a number of key demands before seeing what was in their proposal,” Meyer said.

In a statement Manfred issued shortly after midnight, he called the players’ pursuits “collectively the most extreme set of proposals in their history.” He cited several union objectives, including a desire to raise the luxury-tax thresholds, and to shorten the length of time it takes players to reach free agency, as well as a plan to reduce the amount of money that flows between owners via revenue sharing. Players believe that clubs can too easily make money without having to invest in their on-field product, and want to reduce revenue sharing to tighten the spigot.

“Things like a shortened reserve period (prior to free agency), a $100 million reduction in revenue sharing, and salary arbitration for the whole two-year class are bad for the sport, bad for the fans, and bad for competitive balance,” Manfred said in a press conference later in the day.

Tony Clark, the union’s executive director, said the commissioner’s statement had multiple misrepresentations. Elaborating, Meyer said the league has actually proposed more radical changes than the players have. He pointed to a union proposal to reduce the amount of time it takes players to reach arbitration from three years to two, as an example of anything but radical change. Players are asking to make the service-time requirement two years instead of three, which was the way the sport worked up until 1987.

“Our proposal was to put it back where it where it used to be, where it was for I think approximately 15 years,” Meyer said. “So that’s not a radical proposal. We’ve made proposals to provide certain guys the ability to accrue service time in additional ways designed to combat service-time manipulation. Not a radical proposal.

“The radical proposals have come from the other side. The other side has proposed to completely eliminate salary arbitration, which is one of the signature accomplishments of this union, to replace it with a wage scale. … To extend the period of team control potentially for players far longer than they have the ability to control them now. To put in a new, even worse kind of (luxury) tax at the top.”

It currently takes six years to get to free agency. The union proposed a system that would allow players of a certain age — first at 30 1/2, then later on in the deal, at 29 1/2 — to hit the market with five years of service. Manfred singled out that design as an attack on competitive balance in the sport.

“We already have teams in smaller markets that struggle to compete,” Manfred said. “Shortening the period of time that they control players makes it even harder for them to compete. It’s also bad for fans in those markets. The most negative reaction we have is when a player leaves via free agency. … Making it available earlier, we don’t see that as a positive. Taking $100 million (in revenue sharing) away from teams that are already struggling to put a competitive product on the field, I don’t see how that’s helpful.”

Naturally, players think their proposal would do the opposite.

Read the rest of the story here.

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2021 MLB lockout: Live updates as Major League Baseball’s CBA expires

Source:The Athletic

2021 MLB lockout: Live updates as Major League Baseball’s CBA expires