This week features the most active MLB labor negotiations to date, with representatives for both players and owners holed up in Jupiter, Florida, the spring training site of the Cardinals, with several meetings planned for this week.
Monday’s meetings provided more of the same incremental progress, with the owners’ offer adding $5 million to the proposed bonus pool for the upper echelon of pre-arbitration players. Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post has details on that proposal, which also includes owners willing to include four teams in a draft lottery, while the players want eight lottery teams.
We’ll have deeper dives later today into both the reporting of the MLB labor stoppage, and an overview of the key issues at play between owners and players.
But for now, let’s focus on notable aspects of Monday’s offer from the owners.
After previous bargaining agreements in New York at league or MLBPA offices, this week both sides are in Florida, where many players are training on their own in preparation while being locked out. The proximity allowed for larger participation in Monday’s meetings. From Ronald Blum at the Associated Press: “Players spoke directly to owners during the session. They had for the most part not attended bargaining in large numbers in person, partly because of the pandemic. They previously joined in Denver last August and in Irving, Texas, just before the expiration of the five-year labor contract.”
As Evan Drellich at The Athletic noted, “As multiple people with knowledge of Monday’s session explained, simply holding larger, in-person group meetings on what will now be consecutive days is a positive, even though a deal isn’t close.” Drellich also reported that players are expected to make a counteroffer on Tuesday amid further such meetings.
Remember that owners request for the league to have the right to reduce minor league player limits? On Monday, owners removed that part of the offer, but in doing so also took away their offer to limit the number of times a player can be optioned in one season to five. From Jesse Rogers and Jeff Passan at ESPN, “The constant shuttling between the big leagues and Triple-A is a quality-of-life issue for players, who have proposed a maximum of four options”
One last thing
Jayson Stark at The Athletic talked to several folks inside baseball about the shift, and various potential affects of either requiring two infielders on each side of second base, or banning the positioning of more than three players in the outfield at one time.
Dodgers infielder Max Muncy, among the most shifted batters in MLB and one who lost a net of 16 hits to shifts in 2021, told Stark, “If I roll a ball over into the 4-hole (between first base and second base) and it gets caught, that’s fine. That’s a bad swing. I don’t deserve that hit. But when I smoke one that the pitcher is jumping out of the way of and the shortstop’s just sitting there, that’s the one that gets me.”