MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner each offered insight into MLB’s most recent labor negotiations over the All-Star break, and we’re getting a relatively clear picture of where things are going. The highlights:
- Nobody seems to be particularly worried about a deal not getting done. Given that the current collective bargaining agreement expires in December, and the obvious backdrop provided by the labor fights in the NFL and the NBA, if anyone was even remotely worried, we’d have 400 stories being written about impending labor doom. Those stories haven’t happened, so I’m not concerned.
- The players strongly support realignment that would move an NL team to the AL, balancing the leagues at 15. The most likely move would send the Houston Astros to the AL West, but another possibility would have the Arizona Diamondbacks heading to the AL West, and the Astros sliding over to the NL West.
- Selig says he has realignment on his mind, but nothing is imminent. My take? Selig is suggesting we shouldn’t expect realignment for the 2012 season, but, then again, the CBA expires in December of this year. So, it’s entirely possible that the new agreement could take care of realignment in 2012 (or a season thereafter).
- A salary cap is a no-go.
- Both sides want to see a fifth playoff team added as an additional Wild Card. The two Wild Card teams would play in a three-game series (sigh) or even a one-game playoff (quadruple sigh). Why no one is even discussing just adding two more playoff teams and incorporating byes is beyond me. No one wants the World Series to extend into November, but there are any number of ways to avoid that, including having fewer off-days in the playoffs (which the players want anyway), a shorter Spring Training, and five-game series in the first round of the playoffs.
- The Rays and A’s (not to mention the Dodgers and Mets) are in financial trouble tied to unfavorable stadium situations, but Selig said contraction and/or relocation are not on the table.
- Selig still wants to see a worldwide draft implemented, and a more structured slotting system for the payment of draft picks.
- Instant replay will be revisited, but probably not expanded.