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MLB Lockout, Day 40: Core economics talks to restart for first time

If MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred (l) has enough owners who are adamant that he not give, it is going to make the process slowerGETTY IMAGES

MLB is "preparing new core economic proposals to deliver" to the MLBPA, likely this month, meaning core economic talks will have "restarted for the first time since owners initiated a lockout on Dec. 2, marking a positive development," according to Evan Drellich of THE ATHLETIC. However, real movement might not come until "more is at stake than simply an on-time start to spring training." Players, for years, have "indicated they want significant changes." MLB, knowing this, could have "adopted a basic mentality: we can give up the least by waiting as long as possible." Drellich: "Why make major concessions at a time when players could say no without risking a paycheck?" Meanwhile, it seems "purposeful" that the MLBPA is asking for a "slew of significant changes without identifying one particular alteration, or a set of them, that players feel they absolutely must have." The union "hasn’t drawn lines in the sand yet," aside from what has "long been understood -- that a salary cap is not tenable." But, if MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has "enough prominent owners on his labor policy committee or otherwise who are adamant that he not give," it is "going to make the process slower" (THEATHLETIC.com, 1/7). 

ISSUES TO SORT OUT: In Minneapolis, Phil Miller wrote owners believe that players will "grow anxious about finding jobs and missing paychecks." With so many financial issues to sort out, addressing the sport's on-field issues figures to "become a secondary priority," even as "pace of play, lack of action and declining offense depresses baseball's appeal" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/9). In N.Y., Ken Davidoff wrote it does not help that the "principals for the two sides truly loathe each other." Davidoff: "Here's this armchair labor lawyer’s attempt to get the sport back on track:"

  • Payroll floors
  • The luxury tax: In recognition of the floors, continue the "modest threshold uptick of the past CBA," which would "lift it" to $231M by '26. Keep the "aforementioned bells and whistles."
  • Revenue sharing: It is "not unreasonable" to ask the revenue-sharing payees to "account for the dollars they receive and face consequences for mishandling them."
  • Minimum player salary: It was $570,500 last season. Increase that to $1.2M in '22 and get it to $1.5M by '26.
  • Arbitration: Devise a mathematical formula for an arbitration fund to which each team contributes a designated amount based on the "number of arbitration-eligible players they employ and the service time of those players." Then tell the PA, "You distribute it as you wish to your players."
  • A weighed draft lottery including all teams that miss the playoffs
  • A 14-team postseason
  • The universal DH (N.Y. POST, 1/8).

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