MLBPA Presents Counteroffer To MLB; Owners Becoming Pessimistic About Potential Deal

3:48pm: Rosenthal tweets that the players find the possibility of allowing the league to unilaterally reopen the CBA if no international draft is in place by 2024 unappealing.

3:20pm: Jesse Rogers of ESPN reports (Twitter thread) that MLB has offered the union some flexibility on the proposed international draft/qualifying offer. That tradeoff remains on the table, but if it’s truly a non-starter for the MLBPA, the league has put some other proposals forward.

According to Rogers, MLB is willing to take both the international draft and the elimination of draft pick compensation for free agents off the table. That’d leave both the existing international signing setup and the qualifying offer system for free agents as they’d been. Alternatively, MLB is willing to immediately eliminate the QO and push the international draft question back a couple seasons. If the MLBPA remains opposed to implementing the draft at some point down the line, the league would have the right to reopen the entire CBA.

The gap has also closed on the minimum salaries. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes reports (on Twitter) the latest union proposal would have a $710K league minimum in 2022. That’s just $10K north of the league’s proposed $700K figure. The league’s offered minimum would finish at $770K by the end of the CBA, while the union is seeking $780K by 2026. That gap shouldn’t be hard to close.

2:41pm: Evan Drellich of The Athletic tweets that the union’s proposal dropped its bonus pool proposal to $65MM, while their proposed CBT thresholds dropped a good bit further. After previously seeking year-to-year thresholds of $238MM, $244MM, $250MM, $256MM and $263MM, today’s proposal from the union offered thresholds of $232MM in 2022, $235MM in 2023, $240MM in 2024, $245MM in 2025 and $250MM in 2026.

Those new thresholds from the MLPBA represent respective gaps of $2MM, $3MM, $4MM, $5MM and $8MM from the league’s proposed thresholds. Their $65MM bonus pool checks in $25MM north of the league’s proposed $40MM (the equivalent of $833K per team).

2:30pm: Many Latin players consider the potential implementation of an international draft a “nonstarter,” tweets Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The MLBPA’s counteroffer also still sought additional movement in CBT thresholds and the size of the pre-arbitration bonus pool. SNY’s Andy Martino adds that ownership has become pessimistic after the union yet again rejected the notion of an international draft, which the league has sought to exchange for the elimination of draft compensation (Twitter thread).

Shi Davidi and Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet repot (via Twitter) that the league is expected to present the union with its own counter in the near future. A player vote could be conducted following that next MLB counter. Each team’s union rep and the eight members of the MLBPA executive subcommittee would be involved in that vote, which would require a simple majority to pass.

1:24pm: The MLBPA’s contingent has left the league’s offices after presenting a counteroffer, tweets Yahoo’s Hannah Keyser.

2:08am: The Players Association “requested to speak to its board again early tomorrow before coming back with a proposal,” an MLB official told Evan Drellich of The Athletic and other reporters.  No games have been canceled yet.  “Significant gaps remain between the sides,” a source tells SNY’s Andy Martino.

12:42am: There is hope for a collective bargaining agreement today between MLB and the Players Association.  Both sides continued to work in their respective New York City offices as Tuesday bled into Wednesday.  On Tuesday, MLB made an offer to the players that moved toward them in several key areas, including the competitive balance tax, the minimum salary, and the size of the new pre-arbitration bonus pool.  The MLBPA has tendered a counteroffer, the details of which are unknown at this time.

Aside from the remaining financial gaps, MLB’s offer came with a few sticking points.  One is the concept of a new, fourth competitive balance tax tier.  In the previous CBA, the levels were named the Base Tax Threshold, First Surcharge Threshold, and Second Surcharge Threshold.  The owners would like to add a Third Surcharge Threshold.  Using the owners’ latest offer, the 2022 thresholds would be set at $230MM, $250MM, $270MM, and $290MM, with increasing tax rates for each tier.  That new Third Surcharge Threshold would always sit $60MM above the Base Tax Threshold.

The owners are also insisting on the institution of an international draft.  The last known details on this come from Anthony Castrovince’s article for on March 5, but keep in mind that “lead negotiators Bruce Meyer & Dan Halem [are] believed to be discussing that topic actively,” as per an 11:36pm March 8 tweet from Ben Nicholson-Smith of  Furthermore, MLB is said to be tying its offer to eliminate free agent draft pick forfeiture to the international draft.

It’s also worth noting that MLB’s last known offer was for a $40MM pre-arbitration bonus pool that did not increase throughout the five-year CBA.  The MLBPA’s last known proposal came in at $80MM in 2022 with growth to $100MM in ’26.  Nicholson-Smith has noted that “players have indicated a willingness” to move to a $70MM starting point growing to $90MM.  That would still mark a sizable gap.

As you can see in my post summing up the latest known positions of each side, the once-cavernous gaps are narrowing with the prospect of a 162-game season hanging in the balance.  The new draft lottery concept seems set to include the first six picks, although other details such as penalties for teams finishing near the bottom of the standings in consecutive seasons may yet need to be hashed out.  Both sides have been in agreement on the universal designated hitter for a while now.  The sides seem to be coming together on reducing the amount of notice MLB needs to make on-field rule changes.  And perhaps most importantly, there seems to be consensus that the playoffs will be expanded to 12 teams in a potential new CBA.

On Monday, ESPN’s Jeff Passan wrote that MLB suggested “that if a deal comes down Tuesday, players can be in spring training camps by Friday, and lost games could be made up on off days and with doubleheaders.”  Tuesday came and went without an agreement, but USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweeted last night, “The new deadline is now Wednesday afternoon for the two sides to reach an agreement before MLB cancels another week of games.”  It’s fair to question the necessity of MLB’s ever-changing deadlines, but it’s clear that today is pivotal as we wait to see if the league’s lockout will end on its 98th day.

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