MLB responds to MLBPA with new proposal

February 24th, 2022

One day after the MLB Players Association increased its ask on minimum salaries, Major League Baseball on Wednesday responded with a new proposal in an effort to move the collective bargaining talks forward.

The league made a proposal for a $640,000 minimum salary in 2022, one that would increase by $10,000 in each of the four subsequent seasons. The $69,500 raise from the current minimum would be more than twice as much as the $27,500 increase in the last collective bargaining agreement, a 12% raise compared to 5% in the last CBA.

The bump would also represent a bigger raise than the $63,000 increase players saw in the minimum salary over the course of the entire five-year CBA from 2016-21.

Tuesday, the MLBPA made a proposal for a minimum of $775,000 in 2022, with a $30,000 raise in each of the next four seasons – an increase over its prior proposal.

“This was an attempt to respond positively to a series of proposals by the MLBPA that have gone backwards,” an MLB spokesman said. “We have five days to reach an agreement so there is still time for a breakthrough. We are here to get a deal done – but they are going to have to start moving towards us rather than away from us to get this done.”

MLB reiterated its Feb. 28 deadline for a deal to be done in order to open the regular season on March 31 as scheduled. The league first presented the deadline to the union on Feb. 12, and while some have questioned whether Monday marks a hard deadline, a league spokesman made it clear that MLB is approaching it as such.

“The deadline is the deadline,” the spokesman said. “After February 28, games will be cancelled. Missed games are missed games and salary will not be paid for those games.”

Commissioner Rob Manfred said during the owners meetings two weeks ago that based on injury data and the league’s experience during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Spring Training must be four weeks long.

MLB chose its deadline for a deal with the belief that Feb. 28 is the latest possible date to get camps open by March 3.

If the season doesn’t open on March 31, the league spokesman said any cancelled games would not be rescheduled, as the constant presence of Interleague games would make it unfeasible to reschedule them as doubleheaders.

“Simply put, we would resume the existing schedule based upon when we are able to ratify an agreement and open camps,” the spokesman said.

The two sides remain far apart on a number of issues, including the competitive balance tax, a figure for a new pre-arbitration bonus pool, a plan to fight service-time manipulation and the size of a lottery-style Draft.

The MLBPA is also trying to expand Super 2 eligibility to 75% of all players who have between two and three years of service time, though the league has remained adamant that any change to the current system is a non-starter. The union is also seeking a reduction in revenue sharing, another issue the league said it will not negotiate.

MLB has moved on several issues in recent weeks, while each of the past three proposals from the MLBPA has included at least one area in which the union has asked for more than its prior proposal.

“Any proposal that moves backwards is difficult to respond to,” the league source said. “Rather than being punitive, we took another step in their direction on the minimum salary.”

MLB and the MLBPA met again on Thursday in Jupiter, Fla., the fourth straight day of bargaining talks. The two sides are prepared to meet through the weekend in advance of Monday’s deadline.