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Leagues and Governing Bodies

MLB Lockout, Day 51: Union to bring counteroffer to league

The MLBPA plans to "make a counteroffer" to MLB management on Monday, 11 days after clubs "gave the union a proposal," according to Ronald Blum of the AP. The MLBPA on Thursday asked the league to "schedule the negotiating session, which is to take place in-person." There is "dwindling time to reach an agreement in time for spring training to start as scheduled on Feb. 16." The scheduled March 31 Opening Day also is "increasingly threatened," given the need for players to "report, go through COVID-19 protocols and have at least three weeks of workouts that include a minimal number of exhibition games." Players "don’t receive paychecks until the regular season," and owners get "only a small percentage of their revenue during the offseason." Those factors create negotiations that are a "game of chicken until mid-to-late February," when "significant economic losses become more imminent" (AP, 1/21).

TIME CRUNCH: In N.Y., Davidoff & Sherman note a deal "likely would need to be completed by Feb. 1 to avoid a delay of Grapefruit and Cactus League action," and then "by March 1 in order to start the regular season on time." It very likely will feature "more fundamental changes to the industry’s financial system," which currently allows players to "reach free agency after six years of service and grants salary arbitration for everyone in the top 22 percent of the class between two and three years’ service." The same goes for the players’ desire to "eradicate tanking" and get all 30 teams to "try to win (and spend accordingly) each season" (N.Y. POST, 1/21). ESPN.com's Jeff Passan noted any concessions players make in their offer "could provide a roadmap to the negotiations" (1/20).

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