If you love this song, then you are really boppin’ this week because they’ve been playing it on a loop: the sides met for a long time today, and the newest proposal moves the tiniest bit on hardly any issues. That has been the tale each of these three days of “full” negotiations. The process, frustrating perhaps to the participants, has looked to outsiders like a total joke.
Today’s iteration saw the owners submit a revised offer … revising a single issue, and only barely:
As others have said, MLB’s proposal today was to raise their proposals on minimum salaries by $10,000.
Literally even Pedro Baez could not slow this process down
— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) February 23, 2022
It was already abundantly clear, so I’m just beating a horse that died in mid-January, but the owners – or, at least a sizable enough block of them – have seemingly never had an interest in putting together a reasonable CBA in time to have a full season. The previous offers, and lack of real movement, reveal an intention to get the union to capitulate to ANOTHER massive win for the owners, and if it means losing the entire 2022 season to make it happen, I think they would do it.
Not sure how else you could possibly read the behavior we’ve seen. To reiterate: the owners locked out the players on December 1 after making only cursory efforts at getting a deal together, the first offer of the lockout – which was to “spur negotiations” – didn’t come for SIX WEEKS, the MLB offers so far would see the CBA *improved* for the owners, *and* would include new uniform patch and expanded playoff revenues, *and* this all comes after two CBAs that have seen revenues and franchise valuations explode while salaries have flatlined. None of this is reasonable. The explanations for the behavior are limited, and none of them are pretty.
Hey, I could be wrong – I’m not in the room! – but I am trying to suss this out with as much information as MLB has allowed fans to have. And this is what MLB is presenting to us with the way they’ve handled this process: we do not care if the season is full, even after two pandemic years, because we do not have the fans on our minds at all. And the fans, in the aggregate, will remember this in the years ahead when they vote with their feet. The losses will be real, even if it takes years to show up on the ledger, as this ugliness pairs together with the competitive entertainment landscape, the price of attending games, and the interminable pace of games, among other things. I cannot understand how and why the league doesn’t see this, but then again, they’ve been behind the curve on fan-related issues for a couple decades. What’s a couple more?
I’m reaching the limit of my ability to parse and analyze any of this with a level, rational head. The anger is frequently overtaking me, so I suppose I’ll apologize in advance to the extent it bleeds through more and more in the coming days, weeks, months.
OK. Circling back to the timeline here, even though a deal by next Monday may not be expressly necessary to save a full season, I expressed my concerns that the regular season timeline is no longer the issue anyway (just leverage and dollars). But now, even if next Monday’s deadline DID matter, nobody seems to realistically think a deal can happen by then. Summing up some of the separation, Jeff Passan – who had previously caveated everything with “there’s still a lot of time” – points out just how far the sides are apart with so little time remaining:
Five days before the deadline MLB says will postpone regular-season games, here's the gap between the sides in their latest proposals:
Pre-arb bonus pool: $95M
Minimum salary: $135K/player
Draft lottery: 3 picks
That's a lot to cover in less than a week. Like, a lot.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 23, 2022
They’ll try again tomorrow, and I’ll be back on here tomorrow night littering my keyboard with flecks of angry spittle.
MLB and MLBPA are set to meet tomorrow, a 4th straight day of meetings in Florida. The union is expected to make a counter proposal in some area (or perhaps areas, although the league made a new proposal in one area today). The sides remain far apart in many important areas.
— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) February 23, 2022
UPDATE: MLB has confirmed it is treating February 28 as a firm, firm deadline. Games will be cancelled.