MLB may be frustrated about the pace of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations with the Players Association.
But one thing is certain: they can’t, and aren’t, more frustrated the fans and players themselves.
The last two days have been a rough dose of reality for everyone involved in negotiations, as the owners wanted the help of a federal mediator that could help smoothen talks.
Players Don’t Want Any Third Parties Intervening In Negotiations
That happened on Thursday: by Friday, the players had already rejected the petition.
Statement from the Major League Baseball Players Association: pic.twitter.com/KBssy2e66U
— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) February 4, 2022
Players said, via a statement, that “the clearest path to a fair and timely agreement is to get back to the table. Players stand ready to negotiate.”
That should be the way to go.
The union is fighting for its players, which is logical, yet has shown it is willing to at least make some concessions.
However, there is one problem: MLB doesn’t want to negotiate.
The evidence so far suggests that the league only wants to impose its will and get the best and most convenient deal for themselves.
They have refused to seriously consider most of the players’ most glaring needs, most of them tied to compensation for major and minor leaguers, but others related to competitive balance and integrity.
Players want more than just see their salary raised: they want teams to avoid tanking, and they want organization to stop messing with the service time of top prospects.
One of the union leaders, New York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer, said that mediation is not needed because what they are offering to MLB is fair for both sides.
“We want a system where threshold and penalties don’t function as caps, allows younger players to realize more of their market value, makes service time manipulation a thing of the past, and eliminate tanking as a winning strategy,” he stated.
We want a system where threshold and penalties don’t function as caps, allows younger players to realize more of their market value, makes service time manipulation a thing of the past, and eliminate tanking as a winning strategy.
— Max Scherzer (@Max_Scherzer) February 4, 2022
It’s clear that players are starting to lose their patience.
MLB Reacts To Player’s Rejection Of A Mediator
Shortly after the players rejected the idea of a federal mediator, MLB responded with a statement of its own.
“It is time to get assistance.”
Major League Baseball responded today to the MLBPA rejecting the intervention of a federal mediator. The entire statement, via a league spokesman: pic.twitter.com/3jGBLPGudX
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 4, 2022
The league says that the goal is to have “players on the field and fans in the stands” for spring training and Opening Day.
The also said it is “time to get immediate assistance from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation service” to work on the differences and “break the deadlock”.
That ‘deadlock’ they are referring to was installed by them, in early December, when they implemented the lockout.
Owners also criticized the players, saying that “it’ is hard to understand why a party that wants to make an agreement would reject mediation from with the federal agency specifically tasked with resolving these disputes”.
While the league closed its statement by saying that it “remains committed to offering solutions at the table and reaching a fair agreement for both sides”, it seems that negotiations have reached a stalemate.
They want the federal negotiator to take over, and the players want to solve things without any third parties.
We will see who blinks first, but it’s clear that owners aren’t precisely willing to negotiate and concede things.
At least that’s the impression from the outside.