For the second consecutive week, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association negotiated late into the night, and while no deal was completed by the time talks concluded early Wednesday morning, the two sides had created some momentum -- and along with it, some cautious optimism that a new collective bargaining agreement could be close.
MLB’s offer -- which came roughly 12 hours into the 17-hour negotiating session -- included a significant hike in the competitive balance tax threshold, the issue that has taken center stage during the bargaining talks.
The two sides met in person twice earlier in the day, then communicated by phone from their respective offices in midtown Manhattan for the remainder of Tuesday and into the early-morning hours Wednesday.
Shortly after 3 a.m. ET Wednesday, a league official said the MLBPA had requested time to speak with its board before officially responding to the league’s latest proposal. The two sides will resumed talks later Wednesday morning, when the union was expected to produce its response.
According to a source, the league’s offer included a $230 million CBT threshold in 2022 -- a $10 million boost from its most recent proposal -- rising to $232 million in 2023, $236 million in 2024, $240 million in 2025 and $242 million in 2026.
In addition to surcharges $20 million and $40 million above the initial threshold, there would also be a third surcharge for clubs surpassing a total $60 million above the threshold.
MLB also raised its overall offer on minimum salary, beginning with $700,000 in 2022. That figure would rise to $715,000 in 2023, $730,000 in 2024, $750,000 in 2025 and $770,000 in 2026.
Among the other proposals in MLB’s offer, per a source:
• A $40 million pre-arbitration bonus pool (up from $30 million in last proposal; the MLBPA’s most recent ask was $80 million).
• A Draft lottery that awards the top six spots (two more than the NBA, four more than the NHL).
• Large market teams can’t pick in lottery in consecutive years, while small market teams can’t do so in three straight years.
• Players can be optioned no more than five times in a season.
• Top two Rookie of the Year finishers in each league will be given a full year of service time regardless of their actual number of days in the Majors.
• A team that carries a rookie on its Opening Day roster can earn additional Draft picks if that player places in Rookie of the Year voting.
• A 12-team postseason.
MLB announced last week that each team’s first two series of the regular season would not be played. No further games have been canceled, though that is expected to come on Wednesday if the two sides don’t strike a deal.