December 3, 2023

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 28: A general view of an empty Citizens Bank Park on July 28, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The game between the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies has been postponed due to a Covid outbreak from the Washington Nationals (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

As the lockout has passed the three-month mark, we are still awaiting the return of Major League Baseball.

Negotiations continued yesterday morning, and a few deals were passed back and forth throughout the day. Tigers owner Chris Ilitch, Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick, Reds owner Bob Castellani, and Angels owner Arte Moreno made statements in the negotiations. All four of them were against raising the luxury tax. MLB’s proposal was at $220 million, which is still $18 million short of where the players are shooting for. The union worked on a response to the league’s proposal, but no additional meetings were on yesterday’s agenda.

The new CBT also included players being provided with additional meal compensation. Glen Caplin from the MLB said that “[they] have always included player per diems for meal money and a laundry list of extended benefits in CBT payrolls since the dawn of provision… We ultimately agreed with the MLBPA to use their preferred method of using actual costs instead of of the previous fixed percentage increase, with minor updates to account new forms of compensation created since the provision was last updated.” It was also stated that this issue was brought up multiple times during yesterday’s negotiating sessions.

Now, a spokesperson from the player’s association said that it did not go down exactly as stated in the statement above. We do not have any additional information regarding this matter at this time.

It seems that both sides are trying to incorporate small, relatively unimportant things in their deals to make it appear they are being lenient, fair, or even generous in some cases. The MLB also brought up the playoff pool again, and they seem to find having fourteen teams a necessity. The negotiations did end up stopping after the league’s final proposal, which did not look too different from yesterday’s.

It was also officially announced that all Spring Training games through March 18 had been canceled. This only leaves about ten days left to the Spring Training schedule. When a deal is made, Spring Training will most likely begin about a week after the transaction freeze is lifted. This one week period will be meant to allow teams to sign the free agents that are still on the market. Expect some trades during this time as well. Rob Manfred said in a previous statement that Spring Training will be a minimum of three weeks. So with this said, you should be ready for “Opening Day” about a month after the lockout comes to a close.

Surprisingly, one positive thing did come out of today’s negotiations. The MLB and MLBPA agreed to start a million-dollar fund to support workers being impacted by the lockout. Not all of the details have been announced, but it seems that the funding will be organized by the MLBPA in conjunction with AFL-CIO. The funds will go to anyone who gets paid through Major League Baseball who is struggling financially because of the indefinite cancelation of baseball activities. This included stadium security guards, ushers, food vendors, ticket sales employees, and any other stadium worker. Details about this matter are sparse at the moment. More to come.

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