Progress Overnight, New CBA Deadline Today, Where Things Stand, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Progress Overnight, New CBA Deadline Today, Where Things Stand, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I got 3.5 hours sleep last night, both because I was up until almost 3am with the CBA talks and then also because The Littlest Girl decided THIS was the morning she wanted to get up super early and put on a veritable rock concert on the other side of the wall from my head. Today is gonna be a grind, and that’s not even accounting for the possibility that Offseason Part Two could start tonight …

•   As many suspected, last night’s MLB deadline was more of a “deadline,” and there was flexibility to carry it over to today – the new “deadline” for a CBA is 5pm ET. That said, I will cop to believing it would unlikely that meaningful progress would be made yesterday in any case, and clearly there was. That doesn’t mean a deal is DEFINITELY going to get done today, but it does mean that it’s probably much closer to a coin flip than anyone (outside of Jon Heyman) thought was possible just 24 hours ago. A lot is going to depend on what the sides hear from their larger bodies this morning when they discuss where things left off late last night. It’s possible the larger groups will be happy; it’s possible they will not.

•   If you can’t give up on being cynical – and I don’t blame you (or me!) after the last few months – then you would focus on this phrasing:

•   “Exhaustion” is a legal term, and its choice there by MLB was probably not a coincidence. If there is a future court case – like, if no deal were reached today and the league tried to declare an impasse and impose the previous CBA – MLB would have to argue that it not only bargained throughout in good faith, but also that it sincerely made every possible effort to come to a deal. So, then, you could look at today as … covering their bases?

•   OK, but if you don’t want to be completely cynical, you’ll note that there was actual and real movement yesterday on a number of core economic terms. The gaps are still present, but no longer enormous. Per multiple reports, the gap on the starting initial CBT threshold is something like $220 million versus $230/235 million (and it might widen in the ensuing years, and/or in the higher tiers). The tax penalties might be agreed upon and close to status quo (though other penalties are still unclear – recidivism is the big one). The difference in the minimums might be around $675K versus $700/750K. The pre-arbitration bonus pool difference is around $25M versus $40M. And it’s still not quite 100% certain that MLB is giving up on trying to get 14 playoff teams instead of 12. It does sound like the players have stopped trying to get Super Two bumped up, which is a bummer, though I’ll reserve judgment until I see the whole package.

•   Anyway, the sum there is that the sides are miles closer than they were just a couple days ago, but there are still meaningful differences, especially on the CBT. Most pundits seem to think there’s a pretty good chance at a deal today, but certainly no one is saying it is a definite thing after all that has come before.

•   I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, but the timeline kinda makes it necessary: it’s still not 100% clear what happens in terms of the lockout when an agreement is reached. Since the owners unilaterally imposed the lockout, they could remove it as soon as there is an agreement in principle (in which case players could start reporting to Spring Training and teams could start calling free agents and other teams like mad). It seems more likely they will at least wait until the executive committees of each side approve the deal *AND* there’s a good sense that the bodies at large will ratify. And it’s even more likely that they’ll set a specific time for ratification, and the lockout will be lifted concurrently with the ratification (maybe tomorrow morning if a deal is reached this evening?).

•   In either case, what you REALLY want to know is when would the rumor mill explode, and it’s possible that’ll be immediate. We know teams were prohibited from contact (and contact with agents/players) during the lockout, but … well … I guess I just suspect that some groundwork has been laid. And I further suspect that some things are known out there in the industry but haven’t yet been reported on because it would be particularly bad to do it when there wasn’t even a deal in place. So my guess on the timeline – IF A DEAL HAPPENS TODAY AT ALL – is that there would be word of an agreement and plans announced for executive committee votes and ratification. The rumor mill likely kicks up like wild as soon as an agreement is in place, but actual transactions aren’t completed until ratification and the lockout is lifted. At that point, the first 24-48 hours might just be a constant stream of deals being “completed” over and over and over.

•   This would certainly help MLB get the votes it needs from the small-market owners (that have almost certainly been holding this whole thing up), but it’s kinda like … you’re asking the players to help you get your own side on board:

•   Just sayin’:

•   It can’t be ALL about the CBA stuff, so here are some Cubs prospect mini-camp pictures:

•   I believe today is the official first reporting date for minor league Spring Training, and while many (most?) of the Cubs’ minor leaguers are already in camp, I’m sure there are some folks who are just going to be showing up this week. So whatever happens with the CBA, the pre-minor league season is underway. More prospect coverage on the way.

•   I’ll still never get over how all these guys look like they are CHUCKING IT … and then you have Brusdar Graterol, who looks like he’s just kinda laid back throwing BP:

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.