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Elephant Rumblings: Manfred eyes more cuts to the Minors

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MiLB: APR 14 Fresno Grizzlies at Las Vegas Aviators Photo by Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, Athletics Nation!

We are 75 days into the ninth work stoppage in MLB history and things are progressing slowly. The rush to try and resolve the lockout before Spring Training becomes impacted has seemingly abated, so what can we do but dig into the minutiae of each round of bargaining?

In Saturday’s meeting, not much changed, as the MLB provided a new proposal to the Players Union. One piece that was asked for was a restructuring of the Domestic Reserve List, as detailed at ESPN by Jeff Passan. The Domestic Reserve List is each team’s list of 180 players on minor league rosters. The league wanted to cut that list by over 30 players per-team within the next two years. This comes after the minors were already reduced by 40 full teams prior to last season. The MLBPA has said no to the Domestic Reserve List proposals from the league, so far.

With fewer players in the pipeline, and already fewer cities with affiliated teams, you have to wonder what impact these decisions will have on the future of a prospect’s path to the bigs. Add to that, reducing the Minors’ talent pool limits potential landing zones for aging players, cup-of-coffee players’ space for development, and international signees who aren’t quite ready for the limelight. Getting these minor salaries off of the books would be a small recoup for teams, when they will now be on the hook for housing their MiLB players. The MLB has also made the push in court to cull the Spring Training salary from Minor Leaguers, arguing the teams’ training programs provide more value than a paycheck does.

Today marks the date a number of teams had set for pitchers and catchers to first report to Spring Training, meaning that we have hit our first true delay due to the lockout. While prospects will start gearing up for a MiLB season starting in seven weeks, things seem to be trending toward worrying about seeing April baseball at the major league level at all.

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