The shutdown imposed by the owner of Major League Baseball is about to risk the regular season. Monday was the league’s self-imposed deadline when a new collective bargaining agreement must be reached before regular season games are called off. This will be the first time in 27 years that regular season competitions have been affected by a shutdown. (The 2020 season has been changed due to the pandemic.)
Instead, the MLB and MLB Players Association (MLBPA) spoke deep into the night and then the next morning before the deadline was extended. It was 2:27 a.m. on Tuesday when news broke that the two sides had finally called it Jupiter Night, Florida. The new deadline for meeting before a decision is made to cancel regular season matches is 5 p.m. ET on Tuesday, According to Jeff Bassan of ESPN.
As much progress has been made during the Monday/Tuesday early morning marathon sessions, Ken Rosenthal from The Athletic Reports indicate that there has been “clear progress”, but that “significant gaps remain in key areas”.
Meetings began in earnest at 10 am on Monday, although they were in poor shape. MLB reported to MLBPA that he was willing to miss out on enough games for a month and took on a more menacing tone, Evan Drelish reports from The Athletic. Earlier this month, commissioner Rob Manfred said missing matches would be a “disastrous outcome” for the sport, words that have remained hollow in the weeks since.
Over the course of the day, reports of the evolving conversations seemed to show some progress. By 8:35 PM ET Drillish report He indicated that there was a move toward a deal. The owners offered players two options, according to the report:
1. Fourteen playoff teams, with a minimum salary of approximately $700,000 and approximately $40 million in bonus pool divided among the top pre-arbitrators.
2. Twelve playoffs, with a minimum salary of approximately $675,000 and approximately $20 million in pre-judging bonuses.
Multiple reports said, several hours later, that the two sides ended up agreeing to coordinate a 12-team playoff. Even if the two sides agreed on the second option above, the issue of the threshold for a competitive balance tax (also known as a luxury tax) – and penalties for exceeding said threshold – was ongoing. It was also reported that more trivial matters such as the limitations of defensive transfer were part of the discussions.
In all, there were 13 in-person encounters between the two sides at Jupiter’s spring training facility over the course of over 16 hours. Again, it appears that progress has been made but there is still a lot of work to be done.
The bottom line is that there is an iota of hope that the season will start as planned on March 31, but there is heavy lifting to be done on Tuesday when the parties meet again.
CBS Sports has provided a closing schedule here, but the short version is that the owners set the locks on when the previous CBA expired. They were not obligated to do so, but it was described as a defensive maneuver. Then the league waited more than six weeks to make its first proposal. The two sides have since conducted a number of personal negotiations, with some major sticking points including a competitive credit tax; Proceeds sharing breakdown of players eligible for Super Two mode in judging; The minimum periodic salary.
CBS Sports offers live updates of Monday’s negotiations and Tuesday’s negotiations now. You can find those below.