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  • Could There be Progress Made on the New CBA soon?


    Andrew Mahlke

    40 days ago, MLB and the MLB Players Association entered their first work stoppage in over 25 years. No progress has been made yet, but some progress could happen soon.

    Image courtesy of Troy Taormina, USA Today

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    On Tuesday morning, MLB Insider Jeff Passan tweeted that the two sides are planning on holding a bargaining session Thursday, their first about core economics, and MLB is planning to make a proposal to the Players Association.

    The last time the two sides met to discuss economics was before the lockout, and the meeting did not go well, as it was over in seven minutes with no progress made.

    In that proposal, the Players Association wanted to raise the league minimum salary. MLB proposed to raise the league minimum salary with a series of tiers. According to Ronald Blum of the Associated Press, the tiers would be as follows: “$600,000 for players with less than a year of big league service, $650,000 for at least one but less than two and $700,000 for at least two. Each would rise $10,000 annually, to $640,000, $690,000 and $740,000 in 2026”.

    The Free Agency system is another thing the two sides need to come to an agreement on. Players want to reach free agency as soon as they can, and owners want to have control of players as long as they can. Under the current system, players have to reach six years of MLB service time before they are granted free agency. This limits players who reach the big leagues at an older age as many times they won’t become free agents until they are well into their 30s.

    The current system also allows teams to hold players back to manipulate their service time so they won’t reach free agency as quick, like the Cubs did with Kris Bryant years ago. The Players Association wants the players to be able to reach free agency after five years, but that seems like a non-negotiable for the owners. What the players could propose is an age-based free agency system, where players reach free agency once they either hit the six years of service time or become a certain age, say 29. Once a player turns 29, he will hit free agency no matter his service time. This will benefit those who didn’t reach the big leagues as quickly as a player like Wander Franco for the Rays.

    The last important thing the two sides need to come to terms on is the luxury tax. As teams (not the Twins) inch closer and closer to the current luxury tax number of $210 million, they may not sign guys who could really help their team. They opt to low-ball the players to avoid paying the tax for going over $210 million. In-turn, the players may not receive as much money as they could. The Players Association wants to raise the luxury tax to around $240 million to avoid this happening.

    Under the old Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams were sometimes discouraged from spending so they would spend years rebuilding (à la Twins 2011-2016). This could be eliminated by implementing a salary floor so teams would have to sign good players and not just think about saving money all the time.

    If this lockout continues much longer, the sport of baseball could be significantly hurt, especially if it forces games in the 2022 season to be missed.

    Both sides have their flaws, so it will be interesting to see how they interact with each other on Thursday. Hopefully they can at least agree on some terms of the economics, or it will be a long off-season.

    What do you think about the lockout? What do the owners need to do to end it? What does the Players Association need to do to end it? Feel free to discuss in the comments and ask questions.

    Thank you for reading, and Go Twins!

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    There is no doubt that both sides are hurting the game of baseball. But I will put most of the responsibility on the commissioner and his attitude and approach to all of this. This deadline drama is unnecessary. Negotiations can begin as soon as the new CBA is in place. And it could have started when the old one went in place. But both sides want to win and the owners want to play hardball.

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    NFL playoffs are about to start and they have proved again to have an amazing product.  The discussed MLB topics are important,  but both sides should be trying to emulate the excitement, accessibility and continued relevance of the NFL, or people will choose the lakes in the summer and save sports entertainment dollars for the NFL experience.

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    11 hours ago, lukeduke1980 said:

    NFL playoffs are about to start and they have proved again to have an amazing product.  The discussed MLB topics are important,  but both sides should be trying to emulate the excitement, accessibility and continued relevance of the NFL, or people will choose the lakes in the summer and save sports entertainment dollars for the NFL experience.

    Comparing MLB to the NFL is like comparing apples to oranges. 

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    Hockey = grape, MLB = Strawberry, NBA = Apple, NFL = Watermelon.  They all can break apart, just how much force to do it.  You have your diehards in every camp that will support their team/league.  Owners are looking out for themselves as they run a business, players make a crap ton of money for a game they are suppose to love, but its a business.  Manfred as a commissioner has a lot to be desired but not a single commissioner works for the players. So the tug of war will continue, the he-said/she said public banter will try to lesson the fans on who hates who.  It will never happen, but pay each major league guy $1MM base salary every year and then incentives galore to make their money.  Reset each year, players will play to earn their money each year, vs guaranteed money and if I have the sniffles, I'll sit out for a few days.  What a profession to be in!

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    Thinking outside the box.....  start service time when a player starts playing for an organization in the minors. Base his pay on each year starting with his first season in the minors and then incrementally increase it each year. Once they get called up to the majors bonuses kick-in based on performance. Every team has the same salary structure on each player until they have played, say 10 seasons total. (Doesn't matter if they were all in the minors or some in the minors and some in the majors). Once they reach 10 seasons played they become a Free Agent. Their original club has the option to match any offer they get in Free Agency or they can let the player go. A salary floor using the average team salary from the previous season could be used and times that by a percentage, such as $150M average X 50% = $75M floor. The luxury tax could use the same formula but a different percentage, $150M average X 150% = $225M. As salaries go up the floor and the luxury tax would also incrementally increase.

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    I think the biggest thing for players is the number of club owners who don't care about the major league product, just taking a run for about 2 years out of 10 and making lots of money on it.   A salary floor in the 80 - 100 million range would at least force some money to be spent, not the current 40 - 60 million payrolls the bottom feeders have.  It would help the mid level players who can be replaced by rookies at half the cost.  You are not going to be able to sell a hard salary cap and bigger revenue sharing at this time (this would really help to make the product wonderful).  Service time is an issue, but maybe you make the rule that any time over 60 days counts as a full year and any time over 20 days counts as a half year.  That at least would end some of the blatant stuff.  

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    I understand the players demands and why they want it.  However, they need to understand you need to give to get.  They want a salary floor, but no cap, that is crazy in my opinion.  If you want the floor you need to agree to a cap.  Else, the result would be small market teams having to overpay for players that are left on the scrap heap.  If there is no cap, or luxury tax, the huge market teams will still be able to keep out bidding for the top players, as nothing will really stop them, and then the smaller teams will just have to pay more for lower level players.  This does not help fix the disparity of FA and small market teams, but just gets players more money. 

    Faster to FA is good for players, and I cannot predict how it would affect teams, but unless there is something tied to years in minors as well, I think it would just cause teams to hold guys in minors even longer. 

    In terms of player min, what I would propose would be tie compensation for pre-arbitration players to WAR.  You have a min, but then if they perform well above the min they are given bonuses based on WAR.  Part of the players biggest issue, and it is very valid, is that teams are using their prime years at low or controled costs, then let them walk and recently other teams were not willing to pay because they learned mid-30 years players have huge drop off unless they are HOF bound. 

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    I think the 2020 season is working against us. Owners learned how to function with no games and no game revenue. Manfred's relationship with the players union is not good, and they don't trust him. Players are more likely to cave than owners, meaning owners will likely push them too far. Fans, concession workers, ancillary businesses and communities get hosed. Money is a divisive force do doubt.

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    I guess nothing gets me more upset than this lockout.  The owners are taking in record revenues despite declining attendance, interest and tv ratings.  It appears the last CBA worked out well for them.  The players have had the best deal in all of major league sports.  No salary caps, true free agency, mostly real guaranteed contracts.  Not like those in the NFL. MLB has a great pension and medical plans.  Now they do have legit issues like service time and quality of play.  One of the reasons the NFL is prosperous is that all tv/media revenues are pooled and then evenly distributed.  Plus they have a working salary cap.  It just bothers me that these ultra wealthy people, players and owners, are living in a fantasy world.  They are all arrogant. We have had a raging pandemic for two years with real people suffering.  That it ever got this far is ridiculous.  If the owners can't make it then perhaps at least some should sell their teams.  If the players can't live on the salary and benefits they receive, find a new career.  In 2020 I missed not having baseball most of the season.  But as a longtime baseball fan I found there was a lot of other things to do than watch MLB.  Here's to hope that common sense prevails and both sides reach a compromise while there are still people that care!

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    2 hours ago, In My La Z boy said:

    I think the 2020 season is working against us. Owners learned how to function with no games and no game revenue. Manfred's relationship with the players union is not good, and they don't trust him. Players are more likely to cave than owners, meaning owners will likely push them too far. Fans, concession workers, ancillary businesses and communities get hosed. Money is a divisive force do doubt.

    Every owner of teams make plenty of money from other business than baseball.  Owners could fold up shop and be done and they would be fine money wise.  That being said, they are also business people and want to make money.  They know there is money to be made, but they are also not a charity.  They should not be expected to operate at some type of loss because others count on the team operating. 

    I wrote similar that the owners have the power in this  because they do not need baseball to happen to make money, but players do. Baseball is their side jobs for owners or bonus money.  Normally each side will give their wish list of wants as their starting point, then each side will start to carve away at areas they will give in to.  Right now, each side is saying they are so far apart it is not worth wasting time talking.  I do not know what it will take to get actual real talks going, but when both sides mistrust the other so much it is hard to have real discussions. 

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    On 1/12/2022 at 8:01 AM, beckmt said:

    I think the biggest thing for players is the number of club owners who don't care about the major league produc t, just taking a run for about 2 years out of 10 and making lots of money 

    I concur  owners have no love of the game ,, only the business of money money and more money  ...

    Manfred also shows no passion for the game  , he also continues to lie to the fan base ...

    Some players also have no passion for the game and only money , money and more money ....

    Let me clarify passion of the game,   history of the game to the present is passion ...

    If pohlad had any passion for the game why would he continue to lie to the twins fans ,,, WHO IN MY OPINION  ARE SMARTER THAN A FIFTH GRADER  .. 

    What took so long for the twins to retire #36 kitty kaats number , most wins as a lefthander in twins history  

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    On 1/12/2022 at 6:57 AM, rv78 said:

    Comparing MLB to the NFL is like comparing apples to oranges. 

    I have finally reached the end of my acceptance of the apples and oranges cliche - sorry, nothing personal, but what does this really mean?  Both are fruits, but are full of vitamin C, but are American products.  But what does it really mean when we are talking baseball players.?  

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