The MLB-imposed lockout is currently preventing a season from taking place.
Teams can’t sign any free agents or make trades, players can’t train or use their team’s facilities, and everything is basically halted until the owners decide to lift the lockout or they, together with the Players Association, can come up with a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
Negotiating the CBA has been difficult, though.
Players haven’t always found owners willing to truly negotiate.
The sides have reached a series of small agreements over the course of negotiations, but one big hurdle remains.
“The CBT (luxury tax threshold) remains the biggest issue/impediment of many to a deal. Owners are at $220M in 2022 to $230M in ‘26, players $238M in ‘22 to $263M in ‘26. One hope heard: ‘If they make a deal on CBT all the other issues may go away,’” MLB insider Jon Heyman tweeted.
The CBT (luxury tax threshold) remains the biggest issue/impediment of many to a deal. Owners are at $220M in 2022 to $230M in ‘26, players $238M in ‘22 to $263M in ‘26. One hope heard: “If they make a deal on CBT all the other issues may go away.”
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 7, 2022
The Biggest Obstacle
Indeed, the sides are yet to agree to a minimum salary (MLB is still at $700,000 while players want at least $775,000) and the bonus pool of money for pre-arbitration players (owners have offered $30 million, the union wants $80 million at least).
However, the primary roadblock towards a deal remains the competitive balance tax (CBT) threshold.
The CBT acts like a soft cap, because teams can exceed it, but will pay a price for it.
Players want the threshold to be higher for teams to be able to offer better contracts.
Owners, in turn, don’t want to the threshold to be much higher.
When the two sides find common ground there – which will be extremely difficult considering each sides has a firm stance – we may start thinking about a deal.
There will be no baseball until that happens.