MLBPA, owners unlikely to talk key issues until January, per report

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Along with the help of Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, the MLB owners decided to lock the MLBPA out on December 1, when the previous collective bargaining agreement expired. They didn’t have to do this, legally, but Manfred in a letter said it was a “defensive” lockout. 

There are plenty of issues for the two sides to work out before a new deal is in place, but the biggest items are money and competitiveness. That is, the MLBPA wants younger players to make more money, as the majority of players never even get to free agency, and for teams to stop tanking.

Calling these “core economic” issues, The Athletic reports these won’t be discussed by either side until after the turn of the New Year. 

A union source said Wednesday that since the sides met in Texas in the days leading up to the lockout, the union hasn’t heard from the league on any key economic issues. Now, the union hasn’t reached out on those issues either. But the MLBPA’s lead negotiator, Bruce Meyer, made clear when the lockout started the union felt it was incumbent on MLB to issue the next counterproposal.

Reasonable minds can disagree on what side should approach the other first, but the main takeaway here isn’t entirely surprising. The two sides didn’t make any progress a few weeks ago and it’s unlikely that would happen here around the holidays. Instead, let’s allow the calendar to flip to January of 2022 which puts the start of spring training right around the corner. 

By the time we get to around a month until spring training is supposed to start, both sides will be a lot more motivated to negotiate and think about striking a deal. Once the owners start facing the very real possibility of losing out on those now-lucrative spring training gates, perhaps they’ll bend a bit. And as the regular season gets closer, they then face the possibility of losing out on the even more-lucrative gates and the players also face losing out on salary. 

The point is, while this is news, it isn’t entirely surprising news and I wouldn’t even call it bad news. We just know a bit more firmly now that there won’t likely be a deal until sometime next month, at the earliest. 

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