MLB Lockout Negotiation Week: Notes from Monday

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 Monday:

Both sides met at Roger Dean Stadium in Florida, when previously all meetings post-lockout have taken place in New York between the offices of MLB and the MLBPA.

Among those in attendance was Tony Clark, who had yet to attend a meeting (this is apparently not known for sure, so *shrugs*), as well as ten player representatives: Max Scherzer, Jason Castro, Francisco Lindor, Jameson Taillon, Brandon Nimmo, Paul Goldschmidt, Brent Suter, Whit Merrifield, Taylor Rogers, Sonny Gray.

Rob Manfred was not present on the MLB side, and neither were Hal Steinbrenner or John Henry. Dick Monfort and Ron Fowler were in attendance.

Meetings started a 1:00 pm, with the sides talking for more than an hour before taking a break. It seems the sides met separately for several hours before reconvening towards the end of their meeting, which was at 6:00 pm.

Proposals followed the pattern they have been, with the league taking their turn. It seems they made a few changes of note, increasing their bonus pool amount by $5 million to $20 million and increasing the number of draft picks determined by the lottery from three to four.

The five million follows suit to past increases and decreases, while this is the first change that we’ve seen on either side from initial lottery proposals.

While the pool increase could be considered as the reported flexibility on the league’s side for compensation for younger players, there were no new proposals regarding the Competitive Balance Tax, which is a major focal point for both sides.

Apparently the players are the only side possessing phones that work both ways, as MLB is reportedly waiting on the union to make the next proposal on the CBT, as the league are the ones to have made the last offer.

The other bit of proposal news that came out on Monday was that the league withdrew its proposal asking for the right to reduce the Domestic Reserve List as they saw fit. While the possibility exists that they may try to exert that right in the future, they have no plans to do so until at least 2024, reportedly. This of course begs the question—what are they asking for if they can just do it anyway?

And since apparently the fate of 900 minor league jobs is of equal value, they in turn took the proposal to limit optional assignments to five off the table. As already discussed, the Pittsburgh Pirates had no players that would have exceeded this total in 2021, and while it’s certainly an inconvenience for players, it’s not something—at least at five options—that affects a ton of players. While it’s definitely an option (no pun intended) that needs explored, I’m not sure why MLB tied the two proposals together in the first place.

In a story that is not about the negotiations, MLB Trade Rumors released estimates for players that would be eligible for arbitration under the player’s proposal to significantly increase the Super 2 threshold. They matched the names I gave yesterday, and here are the amounts:

  • Michael Chavis: $1,200,000
  • Duane Underwood Jr: $900,000
  • Sam Howard: $800,000

They also listed Anthony Alford and Greg Allen at $900,000 but did not mention anything about the 86-day rule that I did yesterday. I actually went back and forth with the author on Twitter, but no updates appear to have been made to the article as of yet.

Also, in tangentially related negotiation Twitter news—after seeing a picture of the consortium of players getting ready for the meeting, I wondered aloud if the Pirates actually have a union rep. Alex Stumpf of DK Pittsburgh Sports provided me with the answer:

Finally, from the Department of Good Points:

Maury Brown of Forbes pointed out why expanded playoffs is the union’s biggest bargaining chip and why we shouldn’t expect to see them move off of 12-teams—the union is likely looking for gains over the next several agreements, so add two teams now in exchange for some advances, and wait until 2026 to add two more for further givebacks.

A longtime Pirates Prospects reader, Ethan has been covering payroll, transactions, and rules in-depth since 2018 and dabbling in these topics for as long as he can remember. He started writing about the Pirates at The Point of Pittsburgh before moving over to Pirates Prospects at the start of the 2019 season.

Always a lover of numbers and finding an answer, Ethan much prefers diving into these topics over what’s actually happening on the field. These under and often incorrectly covered topics are truly his passion, and he does his best to educate fans on subjects they may not always understand, but are important nonetheless.

When he’s not updating his beloved spreadsheets, Ethan works full-time as an accountant, while being a dad to two young daughters and watching too many movies and TV shows at night.

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