Leagues and Governing Bodies

MLB Lockout, Day 42: League, union to finally meet tomorrow

MLB management has offered to extend the designated hitter to the National League as part of its proposalGETTY IMAGES

MLB and the MLBPA are "scheduled to meet Thursday, ending a 42-day break in negotiations," according to Ronald Blum of the AP. With spring training scheduled to start in five weeks, management was "planning to make a new proposal to players." The sides last met Dec. 1 in Irving, Texas. The meeting Thursday is "scheduled to be conducted by video conference." Management has "offered to increase the tax threshold to $214 million, to extend the designated hitter to the National League and to eliminate draft pick compensation for losing players in free agency." Both sides "would increase the minimum salary." Negotiators also have "discussed an NBA-style draft lottery." With the need for at least three weeks of spring training and time for players to arrive and go through COVID protocols, an agreement by about March 5 is "needed for an on-time start to the season" (AP, 1/11).

BREAKING THE SILENCE: In Boston, Michael Silverman notes the news is "not what's in the proposal and how it will be received but that the sides are meeting to discuss the issues at all" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/12). THE ATHLETIC's Evan Drellich wrote both sides are "betting that the calendar pressures the other." Owners are "hoping that as time passes, and players consider that they may have to lose paychecks, they'll acquiesce." The same is true in the opposite direction: Players are "banking that if owners look up and see their gates and their broadcast revenues under threat, they'll bend." Both sides "appear interested to test the other's resolve," which "isn't great news for fans" (, 1/11).

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS: ESPN’s Jeff Passan said the two sides are “not close at all” on core economic issues, but the “hope is that this meeting ... is going to spur some sort of path forward to a deal.” Passan: “They've been so far apart up until this point that the idea that a deal is going to come about instantaneously or even within the next few weeks." Everybody across baseball is "simply hoping that this will spur discussions and get them going in the right direction.” Passan added the chances of pitchers and catchers reporting as scheduled on Feb. 15 are "not great," but the "much more important day" is March 31, Opening Day. But both sides "have a lot of work to do over the next month and a half to make that happen" (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 1/11).

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