MLB and the Players Association have been negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for the better part of the last four months.
So far, advances have been minimal, as they aren’t even close to agreeing on some of the most important issues at hand, like minimum salary for players, revenue sharing, compensation for minor leaguers, a bonus pool for young players (between 0-3 service time years) among the league’s WAR (Wins Above Replacement) leaders, and tanking.
Both sides are now fed up with each other at this point, and spring training, with training camps scheduled to open in less than a couple of weeks, could be delayed.
When it became clear, in late November, that the league and the union wouldn’t reach a quick resolution for the new CBA, MLB decided to lock out the players.
What does this mean?
Teams cannot negotiate major league contracts with any player and there can’t be trades or other transactions involving major leaguers.
Injured players can’t even go to their team’s facilities to rehab.
The League Initiated The Same Lockout It Now Wants To “Solve”
After starting all this, and knowing the potential consequences, the league now wants a third party to “intervene” and help with the stalled negotiations.
Yes: MLB asked for immediate assistance from a federal mediator to help resolve the sport’s lockout.
The lockout was initiated by the league, not by the players.
This is not the same scenario as the 1994 MLB strike.
That one was initiated by players: it was a union strike.
This one was started by the owners, as a measure of “pressure” that clearly didn’t work.
The Players Association confirmed this afternoon that it won’t accept the intervention of any third parties.
MLB needed the union’s approval to look for a mediator, but it was never going to happen.
The MLBPA said that “two months after implementing the lockout, and just two days after committing to players that a counterproposal would be made, the owners refused to make a counter, and instead requested mediation.”
Players Rejected MLB’s Request For A Mediator
The union consulted the petition with their Executive Board and decided to “decline this request.”
Statement from the Major League Baseball Players Association: pic.twitter.com/KBssy2e66U
— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) February 4, 2022
“The clearest path to a fair and timely agreement is to get back to the table. Players stand ready to negotiate.”
On Thursday, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman had reported this would be the case: players wouldn’t accept any mediators.
Yesterday, the players had “no comment” about the owners’ petition but did recall “the mediator didn’t solve things in 1994.”
The union saw MLB’s latest move as a “PR” tactic.
The union seems unlikely to accept MLB’s offer today to have federal mediator try to bridge the large gap. The union offered “no comment” but they recall the mediator didn’t solve things in 1994. MLB is frustrated by 2 years of no’s but the union sees this as PR. @JeffPassan 1st
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 3, 2022
The league knows that the whole baseball industry has been following the negotiations, and most of the people agree that players aren’t making any crazy petitions: they just want to be compensated in a fair manner, and to make sure everybody in the leagues wants to compete and protect the interest of young players, above all.
Players think that MLB, to save some face, tried to made it clear that it wants things to be resolved and that’s why they wanted a mediator.
But fans know that is a lie, mainly because the lockout the league wants to end was started by the league itself.