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Elephant Rumblings: Minor tweaks offered by MLBPA in latest CBA meeting

MLB news roundup

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MLB: Contract Negotiations
Feb 22, 2022; Jupiter, FL, USA; Reds pitcher Sonny Gray, left, Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Dodgers pitcher Max Scherzer and Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor head for contract negotiations at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida on February 22, 2022.

Happy Wednesday, Athletics Nation!

The pace of meetings is quickening in CBA talks between MLB and the Players Association, but the moves remain small. Anthony Franco of MLB Trade Rumors explains how both sides convened for a second consecutive day on Tuesday, with the MLBPA countering the league’s latest proposal from Monday. Evan Drellich of the Athletic reported the basics of the players’ latest offer via Twitter, with more details in his full write-up:

The players union gave but an inch in its demand for arbitration eligibility among players in the 2-3 year service tier. They’re now asking that 75 percent of players in this tenure bracket qualify. That number exceeds MLB’s offer by twice and then some. The league has yet to accede one iota on this point, sticking to the current 22 percent from the previous CBA.

The MLBPA also gave minimal ground on the amateur draft lottery. They will now accept the first seven picks being pulled out of a hat instead of eight. The league is currently offering four, one greater than their previous offer of three.

With the other hand, the players aim to take. On minimum salary, the union stuck with its previously sought figure of $775K starting this season, but also upped the annual increases from $25K to $30K for 2023 through 2026. Compared to other issues, the players and league are relatively close on this point: MLB currently wants either a flat $630K minimum, or a staggered floor ranging from $615K to $725K depending on service time. Still, moving away from middle ground as the players have done here generally does not expedite dealmaking.

Notably, neither side has budged on the competitive balance tax so far this week. The CBT could prove the most contentious issue in these negotiations.

The league and union are meeting daily now as the end of February looms less than a week away, deemed by MLB as the deadline for an agreement to be in place without delaying Opening Day. But my back-of-the-napkin calculation is that much bigger incremental concessions will be needed to start the season on time. Fingers crossed!

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