Union Unanimously Rejects MLB’s ‘Best and Final’ Offer, Regular Season Delays Now Certain

Monday’s marathon bargaining session provided hope that a deal could be done by Tuesday afternoon, but it now appears as though MLB may try to make good on its threat to cancel Opening Day games and beyond. After negotiations that some said moved the two sides further apart, the league made its “best and final” offer to the players at around 3:45pm ET.

That included bumping the pre-arb bonus pool by $5 million to $30 million total and increasing the minimum salary from $675,000 to $700,000 with $10,000 increases each year. There were, however, no changes to the CBT thresholds that would start at $220 million and remain there for three years before moving to $224 million and $230 million in subsequent seasons. That latter figure is still $8 million shy of where the players wanted to start.

As such, the MLBPA chose not to accept the offer in what Jeff Passan tweeted was a unanimous vote from union leadership. Barring an extraordinarily shocking development, there will be no agreement by the 5pm deadline.

I’m sure plenty of people will gripe at the players for this, but that offer from ownership was absolutely laughable. To have 16 hours of meetings yesterday after three months of a lockout, all the while knowing the CBT was one of the two biggest sticking points, the owners didn’t budge at all in the 11th hour. Much of that is probably driven by the “small market” contingent that wants to keep the CBT lower in order to reap more revenue-sharing dollars.

The players contingent is leaving Florida and it’s not yet known when the two sides will reconvene, though it certainly looks like they’ll take some time to let things breathe. Given the likelihood of delays and cancelations, the sense of urgency just got ratcheted down a few notches. That might sound counterintuitive because losing games costs the game fans and money, but there’s really no difference between losing a day or a week.

Besides, the league already said it was willing to sacrifice a month of the season, so they’ve already crossed the rubicon with the passage of Tuesday’s deadline. With so much of the broadcast-rights money backloaded to the postseason, the early games aren’t as big of a concern anyway. So buckle those seatbelts, folks, it’s looking like May is the earliest we’ll see Major League Baseball.

Speaking of which, minor league teams started selling single-game tickets today.

Update: MLB has canceled the first two series of the season, though how that works in actuality remains to be seen.

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