A Wild Week in the MLB Lockout


Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association remain mired in discussions with little to no public progress. If anything, relations between the disputing bodies are icier than ever.  

On Tuesday, the MLBPA presented a new proposal to the league in which they slightly tempered previously-made demands on service time manipulation and the creation of a pre-arbitration bonus pool (a fund used to increase pay to the best players who have yet to qualify for arbitration).  

For the former, the Association softened their plan to award a year of service time (regardless of games played) to debuting players who reach a certain threshold in either awards voting or performance.  

With regards to the bonus pool, the newest iteration of $100 million represents a $5 million reduction from the initial demand. While the league is open to the pool conceptually, their upper limit in terms of funding remains distant at $10 million.  

On Thursday afternoon, MLB made headlines when, instead of sending a counter-proposal as had originally been signaled, they requested a federal mediator to intervene in the stagnating conversations. Players were quick to air their displeasure with the move: 

Within 24 hours, the Players’ Association rejected the mediation request. While collective bargaining negotiations found success using the federal mediators in the 1980s, the Association was notably frustrated with the process after its most recent usage in 1994. Then-MLBPA boss Donald Fehr called that mediation “a joke” in 2019.  

Both sides have remained active amidst these developments — per Evan Drellich, negotiators have met three days in a row. While a far cry from the silence of December, those conversations have avoided the core economic points that represent the most stubborn gaps between the players and the league. The league’s decision to withhold a counter-proposal ensures that those central disagreements remain unaddressed. In conjunction with the MLBPA’s statement, players quickly took to Twitter to air their frustration: 

While pitchers and catchers are theoretically supposed to report to spring training on February 14th, there are currently a tremendous number of issues unresolved. Sadly, the events of the past week make it difficult to imagine that the season itself – let alone spring training – will begin on schedule. 





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