The Major League Baseball Players Association and the league met Monday for just the second time since the December 2 lockout in order for the players to counter MLB’s initial proposal. Jeff Passan called the talks “contentious,” but the two sides will meet again Tuesday and that alone seems promising. Also promising, at least in terms of hastening baseball’s return, is that the union reportedly gave ground on two huge points.
At the risk of being Debbie Downer: Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here. The meeting was contentious. There is a lot — a lot — left to work out before there’s a new labor deal. This still could take a while.
But the fact that it didn’t go backward when it could’ve? W.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 24, 2022
Perhaps the biggest of those is dropping the proposal for age-based free agency that would see players granted their freedom after five years if they were at least 30 1/2 years old. That age would scale down to 29 1/2 over the course of the five-year agreement. With that off the table, it appears the current six-year threshold will remain.
Players had also proposed a change to revenue sharing in an effort to curtail tanking, but Evan Drellich of The Athletic reports that they’ve revised that concept. Though we’re only talking about two of the CBA’s many core economic tenets, these are among the biggest sticking points. However, they are also the only two areas in which the union appears to have conceded.
Drellich further reported that the union rejected “most if not all” of the owners’ proposal from the previous meeting. Not surprising, especially if the players offered the above dual-pronged olive branch.
Again, the overriding point to all of this is that the two sides are at least talking and that we’ve gotten our first hint that there could be some actual negotiation taking place. More on this as it develops.