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February 22 update: CBA talks remain stagnant

Three hours of meetings unsuccessful, players nibble at the edges of an updated proposal.

Houston Astros v St Louis Cardinals
Dirty deeds done dirt cheap.
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Day 2 of the CBA negotiation marathon continued Tuesday, and once again, MLB and the MLBPA were not able to strike a deal.

The two sides met for nearly three hours where the players presented their response to MLB’s proposal last week, and the league was reportedly “underwhelmed” and even felt that “players took a step backwards.” On Monday, the league had made minuscule updates to their prior unimpressive proposal, so in that sense, the union’s changes Tuesday pretty much reflect the league’s.

The players touched on additional economic hot topics (arbitration eligibility, minimum salary), which are areas that both sides have been extremely stubborn on. Evan Drellich reported that MLBPA proposed that 75% of players with 2-3 years of service would be eligible for arbitration, decreasing from their previous concession of 80%. Additionally, the MLBPA dropped its request of eight draft lottery picks to seven, while the league increased its previous position on picks from three to four.

It’s obvious that we are still quite a long way from reaching an agreement, and it’s unclear if the league or the players will be the first to make a significant concession/offer.

The other issue that has been on the forefront is the league minimum salary, which the players have remained pretty firm on throughout the bargaining sessions. The MLBPA previously submitted a league minimum salary of $775,000, and while that would remain the same, it has proposed that the amount would increase every year through 2026. This would make the 2022 minimum salary $775,000, increasing $30,000 year over year, as Evan Drellich recounted.

Another interesting point from Tuesday’s meetings is that there were still no discussions revolving around the CBT, with the two sides presumably trying to get the “smaller” issues squared away prior to tackling the beast that is the luxury tax. So, temper your enthusiasm, because these two sides are struggling to agree even on the simplest stuff.

After the day’s scheduled meetings, The Athletic’s Chelsea Janes reported that the owners once again asked for a federal mediator, and the union reiterated that they want to meet and discuss directly. It’s relatively hilarious that MLB continues to request additional help even as they hardly improve the proposals that could actually alleviate the tension and potentially progress towards a deal. And it’s also amusing that ownership — the side that has (needlessly) locked out the other from work — keeps begging for mediation. But I digress.

We are just six days away from MLB’s imposed deadline for a 162-game season of February 28. If negotiations continue to wheeze throughout the rest of the week, speculation will begin as to how many games will actually be played in 2022.

Here’s to hoping the next time I write one of these, it’s to discuss when the season will be kicking off.