At 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday, baseball’s collective bargaining agreement — the contract that allows the MLB and the MLB Players Association to do business — will expire, at which point the owners are expected to close the players. It would be the first baseball outage since the 1994-1995 players strike. Here’s everything you need to know about the impending owners closure.
The MLB and MLBPA held last-minute negotiation sessions this week near Dallas, and on Wednesday afternoon, the league reported that player negotiations had ended for the day, According to Jeff Bassan of ESPN. This means that no new agreement will be reached before midnight.
“Hearing the tone of the negotiations, shutdown appears to be a very likely scenario, let’s say it,” Max Scherzer, a member of the MLBPA Executive Subcommittee, said Wednesday.
on Monday, According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers:And, on Tuesday, the MLBPA walked through the MLB with their latest proposal. The two sides met again on Wednesday for final talks. Here are some of the items in the MLBPA’s latest proposal,
- Free agency at age 29 1/2 or after five years of service time, whichever comes first.
- Players become eligible to referee after two seasons instead of three.
- 12 Postseason teams expanded with leagues rearranged into two divisions each.
- Raise the luxury tax threshold from $210 million to $240 million.
- Advertising patches on the uniform.
MLB, meanwhile, offered to increase the luxury tax limit to $214 (peaking at $220 million) and a renewed implementation of a new method for determining free agency, According to Ivan Drillic of Athletic:
Ultimately, the money will determine when a new CBA is reached. Baseball is a $10 billion-a-year business, and distributing that $10 billion will be at the heart of the shutdown. There are other things to solve (rule changes, etc.) that matter too, but money is the single biggest issue. The closure will not end until the money issue is resolved.
Reports suggest that the MLB and the MLBPA are still very far apart on economic matters, aside from that, getting the new CBA in place before the current CBA expires on Wednesday is a long shot at best. The federation wants to put more money in the pockets of younger players and fight anti-competitive behaviors (like tanks), among other things.
Once the shutdown begins, MLB is expected to implement a transaction freeze, halting all transactions involving 40 players on the roster (i.e., guild members). This has contributed to the recent surge in free agent contracts. Players want to secure their wages before the shutdown brings weeks (months?) of uncertainty.
The shutdown would be the MLB’s first stoppage since the 1994-95 strike and the fourth in baseball’s history. The previous three shutdowns occurred in 1973 (12 days), 1976 (13 days) and 1990 (32 days) and did not result in any regular season matches being postponed or cancelled.
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