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Sunday lockout update: There was a meeting today

The two sides met today, with the players giving a written response to the owners

1960s EMPTY CONFERENCE... Photo by H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images

There was another meeting today between MLB and the MLBPA. In that meeting, the MLBPA provided a comprehensive, written response to MLB’s last offer. Per reports, the meeting lasted about an hour and a half, with the union’s offer including the following:

— Dropping the pre-arbitration bonus pool from the $85 million in their previous offer to $80 million. The owners have proposed $25 million for the pre-arb pool, I believe.

— Allowing MLB to ban or restrict the usage of shifts, adopt larger bases, and implement a pitch clock with 45 days notice beginning with the 2023 season. This was a late ask by MLB in their “last, best offer” pre-canceling the first week of the season, which was something that, understandably, annoyed the union.

— No change from their last proposal on minimum salary.

— No change on the Collective Bargaining Tax threshold or financial penalties from their last offer, though the union is open to what Evan Drellich refers to as “non-monetary penalties” for on top of financial penalties for those who exceed the CBT threshold, though per Chelsea Janes, that would not include draft pick penalties.

There are reportedly some differences on the draft and some other issues, as but, as has been the case for a while, minimum salaries, the pre-arb bonus pool, and the CBT are the major sticking points. If those three issues were to get resolved, the rest of the issues would likely fall into place.

The union proposed meeting again tomorrow, reportedly, though no word if that will happen.

My guess is that there are meetings off and on for another three weeks, at which point the league will declare an impasse and unilaterally impose their last offer, as they are allowed to do under federal law. The union will then challenge that, though through what mechanism and in what way is yet to be determined. They have choices, though I’m not conversant enough with them to go into what they are in any detail.

If you’re wondering why the league doesn’t just declare an impasse now and avoid missing games...well, my guess is that the league is perfectly fine cancelling the first month or so of games. It reduces the amount they have to pay the players, doesn’t impact what they receive in their media deals, and April is (Opening Day aside) generally not a month with high attendance.

They’d be fine with the players taking the really shitty deal that is on the table, but if they don’t, the owners see losing a month’s worth of games as a way to cut expenses while not losing much revenue. As several players have noted, the owners made noise about canceling the first month of the 2021 season, as well...and as we all remember, the owners chose to cancel more games than were necessary in 2020 just so they wouldn’t have to pay the players as much.