According to Jeff Passan from ESPN, leaders from Major League Baseball and the Major League Players Association earlier this week for their first official negotiating session a little more than six months before the current CBA agreement lapses.
According to the article via ESPN: “The long-anticipated meeting between the sides marked the first foray into what many in the sport fear could be a contentious and protracted negotiation, with the possibility of a work stoppage upon the Dec. 1 expiration of the current deal. Relations between the league and players have grown combative in recent years, with both sides accusing the other of operating in bad faith amid multiple failed efforts to reach deals….
“The meeting, held over videoconference, included dozens of people, including player leadership. It was the first negotiating session between the sides since the union turned down MLB’s offer for a paused-and-shortened season with full pay that included expanded playoffs. Between those discussions and the failed negotiations about when to resume the delayed season in 2020 that led to commissioner Rob Manfred implementing a 60-game season, mistrust between the sides deepened and fostered the pessimism about the chances of an on-time agreement that percolate around the game.”
Some negative feelings have festered since the last agreement was instituted back in December 2016, where the sport’s economics were in favor of the teams instead of the players. Since 2016, players’ salaries have dropped for three seasons, and there is some feeling that they will continue to drop during the fall.
The ESPN article continues, “While the best players in the sport continue to reap massive windfalls — from the $300 million-plus contracts of Mookie Betts, Fernando Tatis Jr., Francisco Lindor and Gerrit Cole to the $40 million salary this year for Trevor Bauer — MLB’s middle class has contracted significantly.”
Some of the items up for discussion are figuring out a solution to service-time manipulation by teams that many players believe is occurring. Major League Baseball is expected to pursue a larger playoff field than the ten teams that participate in October.
The league is also spending time and effort looking at potential rule changes that would help increase action in games and speed them up. These measures are considered to be at the bargaining table.