MLB Lockout Negotiation Week: Notes from Friday

Reportedly, MLB and the MLBPA will meet every day this week in an attempt to come to an agreement before a self-imposed February 28th deadline to ensure the season starts as scheduled on March 31st.

In an attempt to cover the daily happenings, here are updates from Friday:

The final meeting of the work week seemed, at least from the outside, to be a productive one. Dealings ended at around quarter ‘til seven, the latest they have gone all week. There were also more face-to-face meetings than any other day: an hour fifteen minutes, twenty-five minutes, fifteen minutes, and thirty-five minutes to round off the day. No other day included more than two face-to-face sessions.

Rob Manfred was present for the meetings for the first time since the lockout started. The twenty-five-minute meeting seems to have been between he and Tony Clark, not the players.

Both sides will meet again on Saturday at noon, an hour earlier than every day this week.

Progress was apparently made on the draft lottery, to the point that the matter is considered close to settled; however, it seems to be the only matter in which a proposal was made on Friday.

The league started the day with their own proposal, and it seems—for the first time this week—the union made a counter-proposal on the matter the same day. However, for whatever reason, no information has come out as to what those proposals entailed, at least yet.

It did come out after the fact that the league is attempting to tie their proposal for a 14-team playoff to changes in the draft, a new aspect that seems like yet another poor attempt at negotiating by the league.

Considering the possibility that the lottery will do little to change how teams operate—a reasonable argument can be made that tanking isn’t about draft position, but cost savings—and thus a matter that some consider to be not that important, tying it to hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue would be part of the league’s modus operandi.

While Spring Training games had originally been cancelled through March 4th, the league officially cancelled three more days-worth of games, through March 7th.

Finally, Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported late Friday night that the league is asking for a “shortened period of time to implement on-field changes it desires, specifically mentioning a pitch clock”. The lapsed agreement allowed for the commissioner to implement rules one year after formally proposing them, but no proposed timeframe was mentioned in the report.

Of course, the players reacted negatively to this request, and this could be considered a surprise, given the fact that rule changes weren’t expected to be discussed during these negotiations.

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