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MLB News: With Opening Day on the Line, Multiple CBA Meetings Upcoming

On Thursday, Major League baseball once again took a PR hit after an 18 minute meeting with the players union proved to be useless when it comes to getting spring training started on time.

The doom and gloom of Jon Heyman’s tweet aside, there did seem to be a glimmer of hope for a deal getting done sooner rather than later. The MLBPA backed off on its demands on salary arbitration, something that’s been a firm sticking point in negotiations thus far.

More detail on this courtesy of Jeff Passan.

Saying the same thing another way, The Athletic’s Evan Drellich said it this way.

Now, the next biggest sticking point seemingly involves the competitive balance tax, a revenue sharing tool that at times has acted almost like a salary cap for some teams. Additionally, cheaper teams more thrifty teams who receive some of that revenue sharing money are not spending it on players in free agency, instead opting to tank and pocket the money.

Tanking is another key sticking point for the players.

Last year, the CBT was set at $210 million. For the new CBA, MLBPA is seeking a $245 million CBT as where MLB is offering a small bump to $214 million.

Another key talking point that feels like one of the easier ones to come together on involves minimum salary. Baseball insiders feel that MLB owners are looking to get some sort of “win” in these CBA negotiations by steering clear of middle-grounds in salary talks, which could be the biggest hold up in a minimum salary bump.

The light at the end of the spring training and, most importantly, opening day tunnel came later on Thursday night when Passan dropped the news that multiple meetings between the two sides should be on the table all of next week…

If February 28th is viewed as a soft drop-dead date for opening day to start on time in late March, then significant strides need to happen next week. Commissioner Rob Manfred said last week that a four week spring training has and will be the goal for getting the regular season started on time.

Related: Lockout Draining Dollars from Spring Training Cities

Importantly, players would need time to report to their respective camps for games as early as the first full week of March. Additionally, free agency would need to resume and player signings would need to happen in a hurry.

One key threat to MLB from the players comes via Ben Nicholson-Smith, who revealed that the MLBPA would shut down expanded playoffs if there’s no full 162 game season in 2022.

The MLBPA has offered the 12 team expanded playoffs, as noted in a Passan tweet above, as well as uniform advertising space, much to the chagrin of fans.

So, once again, it’s you know what or get off the pot time the owners and players next week. Club owners need to swallow their pride and present a fair, good faith, middle ground proposal and the players union needs to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Most importantly, everyone needs to realize that we need baseball to be happening in Arizona and Florida by mid-March.

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