MESA, Ariz. — The pop of leather and the crack of wood reverberated through Bell Bank Park, a sprawling sports-and-entertainment facility outfitted with turf baseball fields and an expansive weight room. There were 30 professional baseball players there. They also took batting practice there Tuesday. The day was yet another critical one in the ongoing labor dispute. It has delayed spring training, and it threatens the 2022 season.
Major League Baseball set Tuesday as the deadline to play a full 162-game year and pay players for one full year. This was eight days after a league-imposed deadline for Opening Day. It also came 97 days after an expiration of a previous collective agreement that triggered the owner-imposed lockout.
Players have not forgotten the importance of using deadlines for triggering action.
“It's an exciting concept.” Chicago White SoxCloser Liam Hendriks said. “It's been frustrating for a player's perspective.”
Hendriks was one of a few alternate union representatives on his team. He wore a black cap with a black shirt that featured the logo of MLB Players' Association. The MLBPA launched the camp just after talks collapsed in Jupiter, Florida, last Wednesday to provide players with a training facility while the lockout continued. Nearly 80 players have signed up to the list of interested parties, and more have continued to come in the last few days.
Mitch HanigerYou can find the Seattle Mariners, Austin SlaterYou can find the San Francisco Giants, Kyle HendricksYou can find the Chicago Cubs?, and Brusdar Graterol Blake TreinenYou can find the Los Angeles DodgersWe were among the major leaguers present. (Trevor BauerThe 2022 season saw a short appearance by.
Since the two sides left Jupiter in Florida, the union and league have been in negotiations. This is a positive sign for those who were wondering if the delay of Opening Day would cause a slowdown in bargaining. On Tuesday, the two sides met in New York and negotiated for 20 minutes. There was optimism in the industry following reports that the owners had agreed upon an increase to the competitive balance threshold tax threshold. But Slater (the Giants' player rep) was not changing his mind.
“I've told myself to stop being too hopeful,” he stated. We're letting them negociate. I want a deal. I want the owners to make a deal. As players, we are sticking to our points. We want an equitable share of the pie. We are asking for an equitable share of the pie. Hopefully, there will be some movement today. If not, we are willing to continue standing until there is.
The initial requests by the players for automatic arbitration, free agency and earlier free agency after two years of service, and a reduction in revenue sharing have been rescinded. The gap now, at least with regard to core economics, revolves around minimum salaries, the competitive balance tax and the amount of money that will fund a new player pool that will provide additional compensation to players who are not yet arbitration-eligible.
The league has set deadlines for cancellation of games. It is assuming that players will need at least four weeks to prepare for the regular season. This has been a positive step in the process. However, players and union leaders were wary that the league would use these deadlines to force them into a deal they don't like. This idea was presented by Toronto Blue JaysThe pitcher Ross StriplingWhen he spoke to Sportsnet.ca, he said that the league was trying “sneak things through” them while they were negotiating into the early hours of March 1.
Hendriks explained that “I don’t understand why we have taken so long to get there,” “We are close but then some things are just thrown in the final to beat us.” Ross Stripling was the best to say it: “We're being treated like dumb jocks.”
After the sides failed to reach an agreement, the league cancelled two series of the regular-season season. They also threatened to cancel a further week of games if there is no new CBA. Manfred originally stated that lost games couldn't be made up. However, the league has changed their stance and now states that players can attend spring training camps as soon as Friday, and that six to seven of the seven games that were lost can be made up using off-days or doubleheaders.
Players are still firm in their resolve to receive a full season's pay and service time, regardless of their schedule. This is tied to their approval for expanded playoffs. However, this component will get more complicated the longer these negotiations continue.
Treinen stated that he felt for the fans. “I have been a fan for longer than I have been a player. I could see myself in their shoes. While I understand that people can be skeptical about the money aspect from either side, we still want our fans to be there and we want this season's success because they are sorely missed. Baseball is what it is because of its fans. We want to be there for the ones ahead of us.
While the owners and the players have worked to close the gap on minimum salaries and player pools, the CBT which has in many ways been a salary cap over the past few years remains the biggest divide. In this area, the league made a decision and agreed to set it at $228m in 2022 and $238m in 2026. Players want it at $238million in 2022 and at $263million by 2026. Two days ago, an MLB official blasted the MLBPA's counter-offer. It stated that they had “gone backwards on some issues” and that the two sides were “deadlocked.”
Slater stated that “I hate trying to predict what the future will bring,” when asked if he believes the latest deadline would produce a new CBA. “Every time we thought we were close, it wasn't. However, I believe players are clear in their positions and all of us agree that we don't need the moon. We are just asking for fair deals. This is something the guys have been able do.
“I think both sides can see the breaking point, where they both lose as much money as they gain. It's hard for me to know what that point might be, but I believe players are all willing to wait to see how long and give up if we don't get fair deals.