Major League Baseball and the Baseball Player’s Union have stalled out in negotiations, according to reporters. The world’s foremost baseball league and the union that represents its players are at odds over a variety of issues, including salary minimums for players and the pre-arbitration pool of money.
The collective bargaining agreement is the players’ main method for leveraging their unique talents to secure the money they feel they deserve for playing the game at the highest level. The current round of negotiations has resulted in a lockout that’s dragged out over 90 days, worrying some fans that the regular season could be shortened if the two parties can’t come to an agreement.
The MLB and the union met on Monday and engaged in their thirteenth negotiation meeting of the off-season. They went back and forth for16 hours in discussions.
Spokespeople for both parties confirmed that they made progress Monday, but they remain at odds on key economic issues. “We made progress,” a spokesman for MLB told reporters. “We want to exhaust every possibility to get a deal done.’’
If the two parties don’t come to an agreement soon, the season won’t be able to start on March 31 as planned. The MLB has already offered concessions, such as an increase to the base salary, bringing the minimum payment for MLB players to $675,000 per season.
Players also secured a $220 million CBT threshold and an increased bonus pool of $25 million. Still, the players’ union is fighting for further incentives from the league.
MLB was prepared to increase salaries to a $700,000 minimum and offer a $40 million bonus pool if players accepted an increase to a 14-team post-season. However, the players’ union turned this offer down, with many players fearing an expanded post-season could allow teams with middling records to slip into the playoffs.
MLB games receive significantly more attention during the playoffs in October than during the regular season. As such, it makes sense for the league to wish to expand its yearly playoff events. However, players fear that such an environment could make it too easy for underperforming teams to upset the post-season and cause havoc before the World Series.
The union is prepared to cover players’ pay until it can reach an agreement with MLB. Players received $5,000 in February and March, and the union will pay out more in April if play hasn’t resumed by then. In the meantime, fans might see March come and go with no baseball to speak of.