After their third straight day of face-to-face negotiations in Florida, Major League Baseball and its players union remain very far apart.
The league had previously set Feb. 28 as their deadline for reaching an agreement without losing any regular season games. A spokesperson from the league dug their heels in on that stance Wednesday, saying, “A deadline is a deadline” and if games are canceled because there’s no CBA by the 28th, those games will not be made up, per Yahoo Sports. The spokesperson also said that salaries would not be paid for any canceled games, according to The Athletic.
While the sides will meet again on Thursday, there isn’t a ton of optimism coming out of the reports from Roger Dean Stadium. The players’ side — which included Yankee ace Gerrit Cole and former Yankee reliever Andrew Miller for the first time on Wednesday — was inside the stadium for roughly five hours before calling it a day. Cole and Miller are part of the players’ association’s executive subcommittee, along with Max Scherzer (who has emerged as the ringleader of these discussions), Yankee relief pitcher Zack Britton and Astros’ catcher Jason Castro. Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor was also in attendance.
Giants pitcher Alex Wood, in response to this latest news, tweeted: “It’s fascinating MLB setting a hard deadline to play a full season for Monday. They locked us out. Had barely any contact for two months post lockout. Have yet to make a single good faith offer to even initiate real conversations to get a deal done. Just make a real offer.”
As for the nitty gritty details, reports from the scene say that the league added $10,000 per year to its proposed minimum salary for players. If accepted, the minimum salary for 2022 would be $640,000, with it bumping up to $650,000 in 2023, $660,000 in 2024, and so on. The minimum salary for last year was $570,500 and the union is pushing for $775,000.
With the league and the players still $135,000 apart on those negotiations, in addition to over $30 million in their proposed competitive balance taxes and $95 million in differences between their desired bonus pool for pre-arbitration players, it seems nearly impossible that they’ll come to an agreement on all of those major issues in a week.
The major takeaway from Wednesday’s meeting is that a shortened season now feels more possible than ever, bordering on likely. Unless major concessions are coming, which neither side has shown any indication of yet, baseball fans might want to start looking for a new springtime hobby.