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Deadline Day 2.0 approaches ... has passed ... does anyone really know what time it is, anyway?

Another daylong bargaining session ends in impasse, with the deadline for another batch of game cancellations pushed to Wednesday afternoon.

Syndication: USA TODAY
Empty spring training fields could get filled with major leaguers by mid-month ... or not at all. It’s still anyone’s guess!
Patrick Breen / USA TODAY NETWORK

MLB owners and the player’s union met all day Tuesday and into Wednesday morning in an attempt to get a deal done before the league’s latest (random) “deadline” before deciding to cancel additional regular season games.

After Sunday’s discussions, it didn’t seem like there would be any baseball in April, however, as talks progressed on Tuesday, the owners seemingly started to give a little bit , providing a sliver of hope for a deal to be signed.

The two parties met on and off for several hours on Tuesday. The league provided a full proposal to the MLBPA, one that was finally looking a bit more respectable than their previous offers. The owners provided an increase in several areas: minimum salary, the pre-arbitration bonus pool, adding a draft lottery pick, and the ever-problematic CBT. Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic showcased the details of MLB’s proposed CBA, which included additions and changes to several other non-monetary topics (including the international draft, on-field rules changes, service time).

Collective Bargaining/Luxury Tax

  • 2022: $230 million
  • 2023: $232 million
  • 2024: $236 million
  • 2025: $240 million
  • 2026: $242 million

MLBPA previous: $238 million in 2022, increasing to $273 million by 2026

MLB previous: $220 million in 2022, increasing to $230 million by 2026

This is definitely an improvement by the league, considering it has been adamant about not wanting to increase the CBT threshold. The owners did, however, request to add an additional tier for the CBT surcharge (the “New York Mets Clause”) — putting tier one at $250 million, then $270 and $290 million for tiers two and three, respectively. The additional threshold wouldn’t have too much of an impact on the majority of teams, outside of clubs that are significantly big spenders (cough cough, Steve Cohen). Tax penalties remain the same as expiring CBA (20%, 32%, and 62.5%) as previously agreed upon.

League Minimum Salary

  • 2022: $700,000
  • 2023: $715,000
  • 2024: $730,000
  • 2025: $750,000
  • 2026: $770,000

MLB previous: $675,000 + $10,000/year through 2026

MLBPA previous: $725,000 + $20,000/year through 2024, 2025-26 based on CPI

This is a pretty solid offer, as it moves a lot closer to what the players are requesting, and is a big increase from past proposals the league had provided.

Pre-arbitration Bonus Pool and Service Time

  • Bonus Pool: $40 million
  • Top two Rookie of the Year finishers get a full year of service time
  • If a team brings up a player for Opening Day, and the player does well in ROY voting, team can net three draft picks over time
  • Players can only be optioned to the minor leagues a maximum of five times before being placed on waivers

MLB bonus pool previous: $30 million

MLBPA bonus pool previous: $80 million

This is still a substantial difference between the two sides, considering clubs would only be paying a small investment of $1.33 million per team, and the players are asking for $80 million, just shy of $2.66 million per club. It is still a step in the right direction, and instituting the pre-arbitration pool at all would be a win for the players because it would be a brand-new perk. The ROY updates for service time eligibility also represents some progress toward the players, and could help reduce situations similar to what Kris Bryant experienced in 2015.

Draft Lottery and International Draft

  • Draft Lottery Picks: bottom six teams enter lottery
  • Small markets can pick in draft lottery for two straight years, then drop to no better than the 10th pick
  • Large market teams can only pick for one year before dropping to no better than the 10th pick

MLB previous: five picks

MLBPA previous: six picks

MLB also pressed further for instituting an international draft, which the players have opposed throughout the negotiations, and tied it to the players request for wanting to remove qualifying offers with free agency. MLB believes that an international draft would best address clubs offering “handshake deals,” which are essentially verbal offers to very young players. A hard spending cap was set in the most recent 2017 CBA, limiting the amount clubs could offer players. The details attached to the international draft are fairly complex, and this portion of the league’s proposal has been a sticking point between the two sides, as this was introduced fairly late in this process, given the two now passed “deadlines.”

MLB also updated its request regarding on-field rule changes, once again wanting to be able to expedite new rules, but not be limited to the three previously discussed changes (pitch clock, larger bases, banning the shift).

The players and owners are still in agreement on a 12-team expanded playoff, though it is possible the owners could attempt to use the 14-team as bargaining leverage.

There was a lot of progress in negotiations on Tuesday, but injecting this same sense of urgency weeks ago could have avoided all of the midnight madness of the last week, and spring training could have started on time.

Bob Nightengale reported that the new “deadline” is now Wednesday afternoon, which begs the question: Does anyone involved here know what a deadline is? White Sox pitcher Liam Hendriks made similar comments regarding the movement of the arbitrary deadlines, while acknowledging the desire to make a fair deal and that all players are working toward the same goal.


In other lockout news, as it is still in effect, MLB formally announced they were instituting a $1 million fund to assist stadium workers that are impacted by the lockout, matching MLBPA’s donation — although it shouldn’t be the players’ responsibility to pay stadium workers and other personnel running the owners’ varied assets.