MLB cancels 93 more games, gap narrows in negotiations



Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred canceled 93 more games on Wednesday, increasing pressure on locked-out players and appearing to shut down the remaining chance to play a full 162-game schedule.

MLB announced that two additional series have been canceled through April 13. This brought the total to 184 games cleared from the season of 2,430 games, or 7.6%.

“In a last-ditch effort to preserve a 162-game season, this week we made good-faith proposals that address specific concerns expressed by the MLBPA and would have allowed players to return to the field immediately,” Manfred said in a statement. A declaration. “Due to the logistical realities of the schedule, two more series are being removed from the schedule, which means opening day is postponed to April 14.”

Differences between the two sides have narrowed with the union’s latest counter-offer. Earlier today management gave the union a new option that would allow a deal to be cut short after the 2024 season – leading to yet more negotiations between management and players who view each other with disdain.

As the gaps narrowed on the three most contentious economic points under discussion, the management insisted on its long-standing goal of an international amateur draft. The players have repeatedly rejected the proposal since it was made on July 28.

MLB said it would not make a new counter-offer to players unless the union first chooses one of three options: accept the international draft in exchange for eliminating direct amateur draft for qualified free agents; retain compensation in exchange for MLB dropping the international draft proposal; or removing compensation while giving players until November 15 to accept an international draft starting in 2024 and giving MLB the right to reopen the contract after the 2024 season if players do not accept the draft.

On the 98th day of baseball’s first work stoppage since 1995, the last alternative would leave open the possibility of another labor dispute in less than three years.

MLB had told the union that Tuesday was the last possible day to reach an agreement that would allow for a modified schedule of 162 games, as well as full salary and time on duty to reach free agency for players.

“The clubs have gone to extraordinary lengths to meet the substantial demands of the MLBPA,” Manfred said. “On the main economic issues that have posed stumbling blocks, clubs have offered ways to fill the gaps to preserve a full schedule. Unfortunately, after our second nightly trading session in a week, we remain without a deal. »

Players lowered their luxury tax threshold to $232 million this year, with increases to $235 million in 2023, $240 million in 2024 and $245 million in 2025 and $250 million in 2026.

Players were between $238 million and $263 million in their previous proposal from a week earlier. They were within 2.5% of management’s starting figure of $230 million in Tuesday’s proposal. Players were within 3.2% of MLB’s $242 million for 2026.

Management’s desire for an additional fourth tax threshold at $60 million above the first threshold is among the remaining points of contention.

Players fell to $65 million from $80 million for their proposed bonus pool for pre-arbitration eligible players, a day after MLB increased its offer from $30 million to $40 million. The union is asking for annual raises of $5 million, while management’s offer is the same for all five years.

The union lowered its proposed minimum wage from $725,000 to $710,000, a figure rising to $780,000 by 2026. Management is at $700,000 this year, rising to $770,000. The union’s proposals on the tax threshold and bonus pool were first reported by The Athletic.

After the parties negotiated intermittently for 4:30 p.m. until 3 a.m. Wednesday morning, the union held a morning conference call with its executive board.

Chief union negotiator Bruce Meyer and General Counsel Ian Penny then walked three blocks through a wintry mix of rain and snow to deliver the proposal to the MLB office and shortly after they returned. at union headquarters.

In the proposal for an international draft, teams would rotate the picking in different first-round quadrants over a four-year period. A slot system would be installed similar to what the union agreed to from 2012 for the amateur draft covering residents of the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.

The draft international proposal includes fixed slots that could not be negotiated by individuals. MLB estimates $17 million in additional spending for drafted international players above the $166.3 million spent by the 30 teams in 2021, plus an additional $6 million for undrafted players. The project would start in 2024.

International players would lose the right to choose which team they sign with. The draft age would be the year a player turns 16.

Tuesday’s deadline was the third set by MLB in the past two weeks.

Manfred originally set a deadline of February 28 to preserve Opening Day on March 31. delay until 5 p.m. the following day.

The talks broke down and Manfred announced that each team’s first two series during the season had been called off. Negotiators returned to New York and resumed negotiations on Sunday.

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