Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association met for a second straight day on Tuesday, with the league making a significant move to create a path to a deal.
One day after the MLBPA rejected the league’s proposals that included significant increases in pay for players with two-plus years of service time -- a plan that included the best players earning even more in bonuses based on performance -- MLB returned with a proposal based on a framework initially presented by the MLBPA, according to a source.
The league proposed a centrally funded bonus pool for the best pre-arbitration players, which would reward the top pre-arbitration players in the game up to four times their salary based on performance and awards. That, combined with an increase in the league’s minimum salary, would result in young players being paid more prior to their arbitration eligibility.
According to a source, this plan would have seen the salary for National League Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes jump from $608,000 to $2.34 million last season, while American League Most Valuable Player runner-up Vladimir Guerrero Jr. would have seen an increase from $635,400 to $1.843 million. Other pre-arbitration players including Austin Riley, Jonathan India (NL Rookie of the Year) and Randy Arozarena (AL Rookie of the Year) would have seen their salaries jump more than 200% in 2021.
The MLBPA dropped its demand for a change to six-year free-agent eligibility on Monday, which marked progress in the talks. MLB’s proposal Tuesday for the pre-arbitration pool marked a significant step forward, creating a path to a deal.
MLB’s proposals include higher minimum salaries, access to early-career bonuses, as well as an increase in the CBT threshold. The league’s proposal is also designed to make it more likely for top prospects to earn a full year of service time in their first season. Under the proposal, players would receive a minimum of $258,500 more over their first three years of service, which represents a 15% raise from the current figures.
Clubs would also earn Draft picks if top prospects get a full year of service in their rookie season and subsequently receive award recognition.
MLB has also offered to eliminate Draft-pick compensation for free agents, a system that has been in existence since 1976.
MLB’s expanded postseason plan would also increase players’ postseason shares by approximately $20 million, as 60% of gate receipts from the new first round of the postseason would be added to the players’ postseason shares. A lottery for the top three selections in the Draft would also serve as a deterrent for teams to tank, with teams being ineligible to receive lottery selections in three consecutive years.
MLB has also dropped its proposal to eliminate Super Twos, another proposal to pay arbitration-eligible players via a formula and a third proposal to make changes to the pension plan. Under MLB’s proposal, the arbitration system would remain unchanged.