Economic Issues Loom for MLB Labor Negotiations

    • MLB and the MLBPA are sorting out non-economic issues.
    • The two sides are putting off discussions around player compensation until January.

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Major League Baseball and its players’ association have been sorting out some non-economic concerns — but major, sport-defining issues loom.

The league and the MLBPA met on Dec. 17 to hash out relatively non-contentious issues such as scheduling, grievance procedures, special events, and drug and domestic violence policies.

Conflicts regarding revenue, salary arbitration, and free agency remain at the core of the ongoing dispute between the two sides. MLB locked out its players on Dec. 2 after the previous collective bargaining agreement expired.

  • The MLBPA laid out a proposal in November that included a soft salary floor of $100 million with penalties for teams that have payrolls below that amount, as well as a higher luxury tax threshold.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres were the only two teams to go over the $210 million threshold in 2021.
  • The MLBPA also proposed allowing players to reach free agency after five years of service time, as opposed to the current six. MLB has proposed a new system in which players become free agents after reaching 29.5 years of age.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred published a letter to fans after instituting the lockout, saying “the Players Association’s vision for Major League Baseball would threaten the ability of most teams to be competitive.”

Rule Changes Coming

Alterations to the game itself are also expected.

MLB is believed to desire expanded playoffs — which could bring a windfall to teams — as well as making the designated hitter rule universal.