MLB and the Players Association will reportedly meet on Thursday.
It could be the first time in over five weeks that some progress towards a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) deal is made.
Hope for MLB/players union meeting Thursday is that new MLB offer will kickstart talks after no progress was made in the last 5 plus weeks. No one expects a quick resolution. Goal and hope at this point for all should be a complete regular season.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 11, 2022
MLB is expected to present core economic proposals to the players.
Speaking of players, it’s important to know what exactly they are asking for.
Here are three of the points they are arguing.
3. Do Something With Tanking Teams
For owners, tanking makes sense because in today’s MLB, the mediocre can’t compete.
What does that mean?
Well, if the team is not good enough to clearly make the postseason, owners and general managers try to rebuild, get some prospects, and hope to align some future stars to begin a competitive window.
Mediocre and bad teams often trade their best players and biggest contracts, they take forever to call up prospects that are clearly ready, and don’t spend a penny on free agency.
It’s called tanking, and players hate it.
Max Scherzer, the New York Mets pitcher and one of the most prominent voices for the Players Association, is notoriously against it.
Scherzer indicates the lack of competition and teams tanking is a major sticking point for players in CBA negotiations
“Adjustments have to be made to be made to bring up the competition … When we don’t have that, we have issues.”
— Joon 이준엽 (@joonlee) December 1, 2021
Most fans are, too, because it takes some luster off what it’s supposed to be a competitive league.
Some teams have been tanking for years, and makes one wonder: what’s the point of it all?
2. Getting Players Paid Early In Their Careers
MLB may be the only league in the world in which young players in their prime make little money, and players past 30 are the ones with the chance of making the big bucks.
Once a player is called up (certain conditions apply), they need to accrue six years of service time in order to hit free agency and have a chance to negotiate with all 30 teams.
That’s insane: some people don’t hit free agency until they are 31 or 32.
By that time, most of them are on the other side of the curve when it comes to the prime.
The players’ idea is finding a fair way to distribute wealth to players earlier in their careers, which is also when they need it the most.
This actually goes hand in hand with the previously explained point: tanking.
For rebuilding, or tanking teams, finding a young star who breaks out as a rookie is, literally, gold, because they have them on the cheap for six years.
This needs to be changed if the whole idea is creating a fair atmosphere for players to grow and earn their money.
1. Increasing Competitive Balance Tax
Right now, the Competitive Balance Tax is set at $210 million.
The players want that number to start at $245 million for 2022 and grow to $260 million by the end of the deal (expected to last five years).
Owners, on the other hand, reportedly want to increase the CBT to $214 million in 2022, which would have it ending around $220 million at the end of the deal.
This is a major roadblock in negotiations.
Logically, players want teams to have more money available, or a higher ceiling to spend, to put it in a better way.
That way they can negotiate better, more lucrative contracts.
Let’s see if this is resolved quickly, or it drags negotiations.