MLB Lockout Day 98: The Offers Go Back and Forth, the Anxiety Rises (UPDATES)

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MLB Lockout Day 98: The Offers Go Back and Forth, the Anxiety Rises (UPDATES)

Chicago Cubs

Not unlike yesterday, the negotiations between the players and the owners on a new CBA have seemingly been extremely active, but the leaks have been few and far between. Hopefully that’s good.

In the meantime, it sure feels like we’re coming to a point where I’m gonna want a place to park updates for you. Hence, this post. Here’s some of the latest, with updates to follow as they come along.

UPDATE (3:05pm ET): As expected, the words “big gaps” make their first appearance on the day, and the pessimism is about as high as it can get once again:

While that does make me pessimistic on a deal today, I do want to point out that this is the owner response to the players’ counter to the owner offer we were hearing about last night into this morning. In other words, unless the players were going to straight up accept that offer, wasn’t it always the case that they would counter with “gaps”? That doesn’t mean this doesn’t scuttle the deal – and boy howdy, if no deal today, things get really ugly, as we’ve discussed – but it does mean this might not be WHOLLY unexpected. The international draft issue, however, well, it seems to be a problem. I’m not quite sure why the sides can’t punt that one for a few years (in exchange for keeping the qualifying offer system in place). It, alone, shouldn’t sink the entire CBA.

UPDATE (3:11pm ET): It’s just a complete twin to last week, right down to the optimism that seemed to sprout up from one side and not the other, only to seemingly fall apart in the afternoon the next day:

The only difference is that the owner offer this time at least started to approach reasonable, and unfortunately, that means if a deal does fall apart this time, at least some of the blame from the public is going to fall on the players, unlike last week.

I have said this already a couple times today, but I’ll just keep saying it: I feel like everyone is so focused on the international draft as “the” hang-up, but from everything we can tell so far, there were always still gaps on CBT, minimum salary, and pre-arb bonus pool. I think we got hopeful because, finally, the owners reportedly had an offer that was approaching reasonable in those three areas, but that didn’t necessarily mean they were close *enough* to the players’ asks to get a deal done.

UPDATE (3:22pm ET): Heh. I mean, I actually believe this is true, though I wonder what Steve Cohen is trying to communicate by liking it:

UPDATE (3:30pm ET): If these are the numbers from the new player counterproposal, I believe that means the players did not move on these two items. That seems odd, unless there’s more context this tweet does not offer?

(He subsequently deleted, because they were indeed not the right numbers.)

A general reminder: if a deal doesn’t happen today, MLB has indicated it will remove another week of games from the schedule (and not reschedule the ones already lost). So basically, today is a 12-ish game swing, and tees back up the backpay/service time fight for later. In other words, if no deal today, I’m quite sure those big games of chicken are teed right back up, with an opening day before June 1 seemingly very unlikely.

UPDATE (3:45pm ET): I knew that tweet looked funky. Yes, the players did move:

The pre-arb pool difference is still pretty big, given the increases the players propose ($5M each year), but the luxury tax numbers really aren’t that far apart at this point.

UPDATE (3:55pm ET): More on the international draft/qualifying offer issue:

UPDATE (4:07pm ET): These are just not far enough apart to scuttle a deal:

Either there’s more (well, we know there is because of the international draft), or we haven’t yet heard that the gaps on the minimum salary are still huge in the aggregate.

UPDATE (4:16pm ET): OK, so they basically agree on the min salary for all practical purposes. Again, the financial differences in these offers just seem absolutely absurd to scuttle the deal. (Based on what we’ve seen, caveat, caveat.)

UPDATE (5:05pm ET): So, does this mean that the owners refused to come back with a counter to the counter? Because that sure makes me nervous as heck:

UPDATE (5:15pm ET): They can’t even agree on who said what. Reminds me of the infamous pandemic meeting between Manfred and Clark:

UPDATE (5:26pm ET): The owners want the draft portion dealt with first:

I don’t understand – and I mean that in a sincere way, not a judgment – why the players wouldn’t just choose one of the three options, get the draft off the table, and then move forward? If they don’t want the draft, fine, choose that option (keeps the qualifying offer in place) and go. What am I missing? Is the qualifying offer really that critical? Because it shouldn’t be.

UPDATE (5:37pm ET): I tried to come up with a theory, because it was gnawing at me:

UPDATE (5:45pm ET): This is what an implosion looks like to people on the outside who have no idea how or why it is happening:

UPDATE (5:56pm ET): Here’s why there is a hold up:

Here’s where I have to admit a blindspot: I have been very focused on the younger players getting paid in this CBA and improvement in luxury tax levels – those being the “big” things – that I have just kinda not really seen ditching the Qualifying Offer as a “big” issue. It affects so few players. So it’s been easy for me to say “just keep it.” Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m not. It’s a blindspot.

UPDATE (6:35 CT): It’s not good news. After the union rejected the league’s three options (re: the International Draft), the league cancelled the next set of games through April 14. More coming.

UPDATE (6:52 ET): Here’s an update on the latest:

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.