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!