In 1994 the owners submitted a drug testing program as part of their proposal for a labor agreement. Selig commented on this in testimony to Congress later:
While MLB gave up way too quickly on this, it was the MLBPA that pushed back. David Cone, a rep for the players at the time, had some negative memories of his experience:
In retrospect, with all of the issues impacting the Hall of Fame and the steroid class that followed I would say that the players truly screwed up this part of the negotiations.
As part of their proposal to the players the MLB was willing to reduce the years of team control from 6 years to 4 years:
The players maintained a hardline opposition to a hard cap, which the owners had tied this proposal to, and ultimately rejected it. In 2022 they have given up on their request to remove 1 year of team control and are now shooting for more Super 2 status. In addition, the good, young players of this generation are feeling some pressure to sign early extensions that are team friendly because of the team control and I bet they would appreciate being 2 years closer to free agency now. Another loss in hindsight for the players.
In 1994 the owners submitted a proposal where they would split revenues with the players 50/50 in exchange for a hard cap across all team. The players rejected this equal distribution of revenue and instead compromised on a luxury tax that is not based on revenue and has effectively been used as a cap since. In 2021, the payroll for all teams was roughly $4B while the revenue for all teams was roughly $12B. My math has that at a 33% distribution which means the revered Donald Fehr and the MLB Players negotiated themselves a deal where they earn 17% less revenue. In 2021 that means the players could have earned $2B more under the owners 1994 proposal. I don't think that all would have gone to the best players either because even with all that new obligation I would think that the Angels would not increase the money they pay Trout from $37M a year to $56M a year and it would likely mean a lot bigger floor of minimum salaries to meet the %50 revenue obligation. I would call this a 3rd strike for players.
In short, we wouldn't have had the steroid era as badly, players could be free agents 2 years quicker, players would be making 50% more, and we would have had a 1994 World Series if the players hadn't declared a strike and accepted the owners offer. If only Mr. Peabody's Wayback machine was real?