Rob Manfred, the Baseball Commissioner, cancelled 93 more games Wednesday. He appeared to be closing the remaining 162-game opportunity and threatened to lock out players with a loss of salary or service time.
After both sides had narrowed their differences in economic terms and got bogged down by management's attempt at gaining an international amateur draft (MLB) announced that two more series would be canceled until April 13. This equates to 7.6 percent.
Manfred stated that "Because the calendar's logistical realities, two additional series have been removed from the schedule. This means that the opening day will be postponed until April 14,".
After he had walked three blocks in a cold mix of snow and ice from union headquarters, Bruce Meyer delivered the union's latest counteroffer to MLB's office.
Although the gap was narrowed on the minimum salary, pre-arbitration bonus pool, and luxury tax, the management did not stop pushing for the long-held goal to have an international amateur draft. Since July 28, the proposal was rejected by players repeatedly.
The union stated in a statement that the owners' decision to cancel additional matches was completely unnecessary. "Players have not heard back from the league after making comprehensive proposals earlier in the afternoon. They were told that substantive responses would be forthcoming."
MLB stated that it would not offer a counteroffer to players unless the union chooses one of the following options: accepting the international draft in return for the elimination or partial compensation for qualified amateur draft picks; accepting the international draft proposal in exchange for MLB dropping it; or dropping compensation and giving players until November 15 to accept the international draft. MLB has the right to reopen the labor contract after 2024 season, if the draft is rejected by players.
The last option would open up the possibility of another labor dispute in less than 3 years between parties who regard each other with contempt on the 98th anniversary of the baseball's first stoppage of work since 1995.
Players rejected all three options. They instead suggested that compensation be dropped for this year, sides agree to a draft before Nov. 15, or that compensation be reverted to 2022-23 for the offseason.
Manfred stated, "In a last-ditch attempt to preserve a 162-game seasons, this week we made good-faith suggestions that address specific concerns raised by the MLBPA and would allow the players to return on the field immediately." The clubs went to great lengths to satisfy the MLBPA's substantial demands. The clubs offered solutions to the major economic issues that had posed challenges to maintain a full schedule. We are still without a deal after our second late-night negotiation session within a week.
Opening day was supposed to be March 31, but it has been cancelled by the ninth baseball work stoppage.
If the April 14 games are cancelled and players don't receive credit for their service time in settlement, free agent eligibility for many players would be delayed, including Shohei Ahtani (2023-2024), Pete Alonso (2024-2025), Jake Cronenworth (2025-2026), and Jonathan India (2026-2027).
The threshold for luxury tax exemptions was dropped to $232 million by players this year. There were increases of $235 million, $240 million, 2024, and 2025, and $245 million, 2025, and $250 million, respectively, in 2026.
In their previous proposal, players had estimated that they would be at $238 million to $263 millions. They were 2.5 percent below management's initial figure of $230million in Tuesday's proposal. The 2026 MLB budget for players was $242 million.
The management's desire to increase the threshold for tax at $60 million is one of the remaining contentious points.
Players dropped to $65 million from $80 million for their proposed bonus pool for pre-arbitration-eligible players, a day after MLB raised its offer from $30 million to $40 million. Management's offer for five years is identical, but the union wants $5 million per year in increases.
The union has dropped its minimum salary from $725,000 to $710,000, and will increase it to $780,000 by 2026. The management is currently at $700,000. This year, it will rise to $770,000. The Athletic first reported the union's proposals regarding the tax threshold, and bonus pool.
The proposal for an international draft would see teams rotate picking in the different quadrants in the first round for a period of four years. A similar system to the one the union established in 2012 for the amateur draft that covered residents of Canada, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. would be used.
The proposal for the international draft includes hard slots that cannot be negotiated individually. MLB estimates $17million in additional spending by international teams to draft international players, in addition to the $166.3million spent by the 30 teams in 2021 and $6 million for non-drafted players. The draft would begin in 2024.
International players would lose their right to choose which team they sign with. The year a player turns 16 would be the age of the draft.