MLB Lockout Day 72: Another Report of Optimism That MLB's Offer Tomorrow Will Actually Move the Needle

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MLB Lockout Day 72: Another Report of Optimism That MLB’s Offer Tomorrow Will Actually Move the Needle

Chicago Cubs

By tomorrow night, I believe we’re going to be able to predict, with something like 85% accuracy, whether the 2022 MLB season will begin on its regularly-scheduled Opening Day on March 31.

Representatives for the owners and for the players are set to meet and negotiate the Collective Bargaining Agreement tomorrow – their first session in a long time (again) – after each side met for several days this week. The owners, per Commissioner Rob Manfred, will be making a “good” offer tomorrow. Maybe so. But if it isn’t substantially reasonable in a way no previous offers have been, it isn’t going to move the ball enough to create a realistic chance of a finalized deal by the end of this month.

I can’t hide my naked skepticism. I’m sorry if that makes me the worst kind of cynic, but the last two years have followed such a predictable script that it would be a shock if tomorrow’s new offer from MLB is the kind that makes you think, oh, wow, they actually moved!

However, there was a report yesterday that there is behind-the-scenes optimism about the owners’ offer, and now there’s another with even stronger language.

Jon Heyman reports via sources that the offer coming from MLB “will make concessions on key economic issues, hoping to trigger more compromising by union.”

Concessions on key economic issues sounds good, though you have to keep in mind that it could be something like a few million on the luxury tax level, and offering to increase the size of the Super Two group from 22% to 25%. And, strictly speaking, the statement would be true. It would also have NO hope of triggering real movement in negotiations without being more significant than that, especially given how much the MLBPA cares about revenue sharing and arbitration, and how harsh the owners’ luxury tax penalty proposals are.

Here’s how Manfred framed the potential for the Saturday offer to move the needle at his press conference yesterday: “You’re always one breakthrough away from making an agreement. That’s the art of this process. Somebody makes a move. And that’s why we’ll make additional moves on Saturday that creates flexibility on the other side and what seemed like a big gap on this topic or that topic isn’t such a big gap anymore.”

You could read that in concert with Heyman’s report and conclude that the owners really are going to make significant moves, and suddenly a deal looks possible within a week. That’d be a dream, because it would allow for a week of offseason, and nearly five weeks of Spring Training. Realistically, though, I’m just hoping the movement tomorrow by the owners is enough for the players not to totally shut down. That means it would take multiple more weeks to get a deal done, but it would leave Opening Day still a possibility. Maybe even a probability if the response from the players looks optimistic.

Or you could continue to be cynical until you actually see evidence that MLB’s strategy of doing everything possible to absolutely dominate CBA negotiations has been adjusted to recognize the unreasonable imbalance that has developed.

In any case, I think we’re going to know by this time tomorrow whether Opening Day is a real possibility, or if the slog and intransigence will continue well into March.



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.