OK. I kept all the MLB lockout stuff out of the Cubs Bullets this morning, so I have to dump a lot of fresh stuff here. (What an appropriate phrasing.)
With MLB throwing down the gauntlet – a deal by Monday, or games are cancelled and salaries lost – multiple outlets dropped their versions of “this is what a deal should look like.” ESPN’s version comes out of conversations with insiders, and you get a number of perspectives. Among them: increasing the Super Two pool may simply not be possible (as we’ve discussed), but the size of the pre-arbitration bonus pool could stand to be really large; there’s no reason the minimum salary should start below $700,000 (which, incidentally, is about the current midpoint between the offers); the luxury tax thresholds need a substantial bump, and the harshest penalties should be reserved for only the top tier.
In other words, even insiders don’t see the owners’ current offers as being particularly close to reasonable.
I also highly recommend Ken Rosenthal’s iteration, which not only proposes a bunch of completely reasonable terms for the CBA, but also makes a convincing case for WHY things are they way they are and WHY each side needs to eat a bit to make it work (mostly the owners, which isn’t Rosenthal just being a shill for the players – it’s just an objective evaluation of the landscape (there’s a reason virtually every pundit everywhere has landed somewhere like this)).
It’s interesting to see where there is overlap between Rosenthal’s suggestions and the insiders in ESPN’s piece: $700K-ish minimum, pre-arb bonus pool in the $40 to $50 million range, and the first tier of the luxury tax increasing to the $225 million range (with no non-monetary penalties). There is a little divergence on the size of Super Two (Rosenthal would bump from 22% to 30%), but Rosenthal is also giving MLB the full 14-team expanded playoffs it wants. It’s all *REASONABLE.*
Not that we have any reason to believe it’s possible to get to that reasonable place by Monday. Obviously it CAN happen with the sides negotiating from now through Monday, but it’s Thursday. And through three days of this in-person stuff, the moves have been minuscule. Barely even worth mentioning. And we’re talking about the sides having to make HUGE moves to get to a reasonable deal. Why on earth would you bet on that happening in just a few days, solely because MLB threatened the players’ salaries (a thread that I very much believe they intend to follow, since a number of owners probably wouldn’t hate dropping a couple months of salary expenses).
Speaking of how things have played out, and why there is no reason to be optimistic:
let’s just get this straight
we are currently being locked out …
they did not meet with us for a month once this lockout was instituted …
now we are being threatened that games will be missed if we don’t make a deal by Monday https://t.co/OARJaCudEY
— Jack Flaherty (@Jack9Flaherty) February 24, 2022
That’s just Jack Flaherty literally describing exactly what has happened. There’s no exaggeration there, or inflammatory rhetoric. He’s just stating the facts, and the facts on their own look SO UGLY. Why would the players bend at this point if the owners are content to threaten the season if they can’t get (another) absurd win in the CBA? I don’t want to see any season missed, but I’m just so aggravated at this point.
As for the terms, the luxury tax (CBT) has always struck me as the biggest and most threshold issue in the entire negotiation, so of course the sides haven’t talked about it at all this week. I know a lot of folks still don’t buy that it’s so important to the entire league and all the players when so few teams exceed it (though that’s almost precisely the point!), but Jeff Passan went on a tweetstorm on the topic if you want to know anything else about the CBT situation. You’ll have to head to Twitter to see the whole thread, because it is loonnnggg:
What indicates that, more than anything, is how deeply the league and the union are digging in. Both sides are waiting for the other to make a “big move.” That big move is on the CBT. Without it, there will be no deal by Monday. That has evolved from presumption to reality.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 24, 2022