MLB Lockout Day 71: Extreme Luxury Tax Issues, If You Dare Consider Optimism, More Player Solidarity

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MLB Lockout Day 71: Extreme Luxury Tax Issues, If You Dare Consider Optimism, More Player Solidarity

Chicago Cubs

Today, Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke to the media for the first time since the lockout started upon the expiration of the CBA back in December. You can see the rundown of his most important comments here, and some of my thoughts. It was fine. It wasn’t horrible or temperature-escalating, and at this point, that’s a win. Of course, what REALLY matters is the owners new proposal on Saturday. Manfred says it’s going to be good, and will move things forward. I’ll believe that when I see it.

Other lockout bits …

⇒ There was a little bit of a kerfuffle immediately after Manfred’s presser because he had suggested the owners’ proposal on the Competitive Balance Tax (i.e., luxury tax) was status quo on the penalty side, but that is not accurate, so MLB had to address:

⇒ We knew this going back to MLB’s offer in the fall (that the penalties for exceeding the luxury tax would actually get steeper in the owner proposal), so the owners have apparently stuck to that part. As for the specifics, although we knew a little bit about their CBT proposal (i.e., that the first tier would increase from $210 million to just $214 million), now we know a little more, thanks to The Athletic. In the MLB proposal, the recidivism penalties would go away (which is not a minor consolation, because that became a huge issue for large market teams), but the one-year penalty would go way up: if you exceed the first tier of the CBT, you lose a third round pick in both the domestic and international drafts (assuming there is one of the latter); second tier is second rounders; third tier is first rounders. That’s extremely harsh. And the tax, itself, rockets up to 50% of the overage in the first tier, 75% in the second tier, and 100% in the third tier. That’s a massive set of increases from what was already in place.

⇒ As for the tiers MLB is proposing, per The Athletic: “The first tier would start at $214 million for 2022-24, go to $216 million in 2025, and rise to $220 million for the final year of the deal in 2026. The second tier would be $234 million for three years, then $236 million and $240 million. The last tier would be $254 million for three years, then $256 and $260 million.” The MLBPA proposal has those tiers much higher, ranging from $245 million to $285 million in the first year, to $273 million to $313 million in the final year of the CBA. The penalties would be similar to what they are in the current CBA. So, basically, the sides are monstrously far apart on both the tiers and the penalties.

⇒ From my perspective, either the penalties need to be dramatically reduced (from the current CBA), or the levels need to be dramatically increased (from the current CBA). Gotta be at least one of those two things.

⇒ So, anyway, the sides are still really far off on this topic, which has come up regularly, but has not actually been negotiated yet. It’s a major, major issue, so we’ll see when they actually, you know, deal with it.

⇒ If you want to be optimistic about the owners’ coming offer actually moving the needle, here you go:

⇒ If the MLB offer does move significantly toward “reasonable,” it’ll be the first we’ve seen in this negotiating cycle, so I would be a bit surprised. Keep in mind, that “cautious optimism” is coming from the owners’ side, so who knows how they see their offer. They might think they’re making a huge move, when in reality it’s really quite modest (because, so far, they really haven’t moved much at all). I’m already nervous for Saturday.

⇒ Meanwhile, Francisco Lindor deftly handles a tough question, because the players don’t want to set themselves up to be made out as villains, but they also have to stand firm:

⇒ If you haven’t been following former Cubs pitcher Trevor Williams through the lockout, you’ve missed some hilarious stuff. A couple examples today:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.