MLB, MLBPA resume labor talks

March 6th, 2022

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association resumed talks Sunday in an attempt to reach a new collective bargaining agreement. The meeting took place in New York City.

According to reports, the MLBPA was expected to provide a counterproposal to the league five days after MLB’s offer on the final day of negotiations in Jupiter, Fla. The lead negotiators for each side last met on Thursday for an informal 90-minute conversation covering a range of topics.

Per a report from the Associated Press, the MLBPA may be open to a 14-team postseason format under the condition that the higher-seeded team begin the best-of-five series with a “ghost win.” Major League Baseball has already rejected such a concept, making that possibility appear highly unlikely.

“The 14-team format MLB originally proposed offers significant advantages to division winners and provides incentives to win at every level of the bracket,” MLB spokesman Glen Caplin said. “In an effort to compromise, MLB accepted a 12-team format after the discussion of formats including a ‘ghost game.’ MLB made clear that the ‘ghost game’ raises serious issues and is not a viable path forward.”

Under the MLBPA’s idea, the higher seed would be home for all games in the series, needing only two wins in four games to advance. The lower-seeded team would need to win three out of four games to move on in the postseason. MLB has said it does not believe the “ghost win” concept would be well-received by either its broadcast partners or the league’s fans.

Under MLB’s proposal for a 14-team postseason field, the division winner with the best record in the regular season would get a bye into the Division Series. The other two division winners would have the advantage of choosing their opponents and hosting all three potential games in a best-of-three round.

After the two division winners choose their opponent -- the team with the better record between them would have first choice -- then the Wild Card team with the best record would play the remaining team, with the higher seed hosting all three games. All opponent selections would take place in a televised show.

Mets pitcher Max Scherzer, a member of the union’s executive subcommittee, addressed the league’s proposed plan earlier this week.

“We felt like competition could be eroded in that scenario, and we had specific examples of different players who spoke up that highlighted that specifically,” Scherzer said Tuesday. “Continuing on from those division winners down, we didn’t see the proper incentive for those other two division winners.”

Players said earlier this week that they could agree to a 12-team expanded postseason format, which MLB included in its proposal, though a 14-team plan could reemerge in the upcoming negotiations.