October 4, 2023

The Chaos Continues: An update on the CBA and Major League Baseball’s lockout


Photo by Arturo Pardavila III

Oh, the craziness.

The calendar has flipped to March, and the MLB is still in lockout. It’s impossible to say what’s really going on inside the conference rooms at Roger Dean Stadium, but it seems like they are getting everywhere and nowhere all at the same time.

About a week ago, the MLB hired a federal negotiator; the representatives for both parties reported to Jupiter, Florida to participate in daily meetings at Roger Dean Stadium, the Spring Training home of the Marlins and Cardinals.

The meetings are all over the place. One day, they met for 15 minutes. A few days later, they met for 16 straight hours.

At five PM on Tuesday, March 1, Rob Manfred held a press conference in which he officially announced the cancelation of the first two series of the 2022 season. This came after two days of long negotiations. Sources from Roger Dean Stadium said that a deal was in the works and should be expected before the deadline on Tuesday. Obviously, this did not come to fruition.

Monday night, negotiations went late into the evening and did not end until early Tuesday morning. This is what made Manfred extend the deadline by seventeen hours to Tuesday at five PM. This led most of us to assume that the MLB and MLBPA were getting somewhere close to a deal; unfortunately, it appears we were very wrong about that. Multiple reports said something along the lines of “We have progressed, but aren’t close to a deal yet.”

As the owners and player’s association went back and forth on Monday and Tuesday, the owners last offer looked like this:

  • No change in luxury tax. It stays at $220 million.
  • Pre-arbitration pool: $30 million.
  • Minimum players salary: $700,000.
  • Playoff Pool: 12 teams.
  • Draft Lottery: Five.

This offer was declined.

Note that the MLBPA was originally seeking a minimum salary of $725,000, while the MLB was seeking $675,000. The MLB was hoping for a 14 team playoff pool, so a compromise down to 12 is right in between their desired 14 team pool and the traditional ten team setup. The biggest thing is that the MLB is not willing to budge on the CBT (luxury tax). The MLBPA is seeking a luxury tax of at least $30 million, where the MLB isn’t willing to go above $20 million. When you look at the terms of the MLB’s final offer above, you’ll notice that the CBT was the only thing that they did not meet somewhere in the middle between the two topics.

The shift was also a conversation that came up throughout the many hours of negotiations. Many of the players are looking to get rid of the shift throughout all of baseball. Joey Gallo pointed out how he “do[es]n’t understand how [he’s] supposed to hit a double or triple when [there’s] six guys standing in the outfield.” What he is saying makes sense, but this will impact the game in so many more ways. So many guys are hitting the ball into the shift once every seven or eight at-bats. What could this do to pitcher’s WHIPs and ERAs? How will this impact the batting title?

We have a lot to find out!

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