MLB, MLBPA Remain Far Apart As Deadline Looms

    • MLB and the MLBPA remain far apart on negotiations.
    • The competitive balance tax remains a key sticking point.

Major League Baseball upped the ante in its collective bargaining negotiations with its players union, imposing a Feb. 28 deadline to reach an agreement before regular-season games are canceled. 

Spring training games have already been postponed. The season is scheduled to start on March 31

  • The league stated that players would not be paid for lost games.
  • The MLBPA has reportedly floated the idea of blocking proposals for expanded playoffs in retaliation, potentially denying the league a $100 million windfall.
  • Owners have proposed a minimum salary of $640,000, rising to $680,000 by 2026. Players have asked for $775,000, reaching $895,000 by 2026.

There is also a $100 million gap between each side’s proposed bonus pool for pre-arbitration players, with MLB allotting $15 million and the players proposing $115 million.

Minimal progress was reportedly made in negotiations on Thursday.

Taxing Imbalance

There has been little movement on the core issue of the competitive balance tax, which penalizes teams for payrolls above a certain threshold. 

The tax threshold, which was $210 million in 2021, has acted as a de facto salary cap: In 2021, only the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres crossed the $210 million line, while five teams came within $3.4 million.

Players have asked for the tax threshold to rise to $245 million immediately and grow to $273 million over the next few years. Owners have sought to bump it to $214 million this year and $222 million over time, with more stringent penalties for crossing it.