MLB Players’ Association Clarifies CBA Goals and Implications of Lockout
The Major League Baseball Players’ Association (MLBPA) has agreed with Major League Baseball to advance the deadline for teams to bid for contracts to players who are not yet eligible for free will, primarily affecting players eligible for the ‘arbitration.
The submission deadline will be moved from December 2 to November 30 at 8 p.m. EST. The Baseball Collective Agreement (CBA) will expire on December 1 at 11:59 p.m. Owners are expected to lock down players and implement a trading freeze on December 2.
The ruling will let teams and players know if they will get a contract offer and head to arbitration – if there is arbitration in the new CBA – or if they will become free agents. Non-bidding players would have 31 hours to sign with a team before trades are frozen.
Players who do not receive an offer by the deadline will become unrestricted free agents. Given that the current collective agreement that sets the terms of bidding contracts would have expired and transactions frozen, hundreds of players could have been in limbo, perhaps for several months until a new agreement is concluded.
Sure, owners could postpone the trade freeze, but their intention to lock down players and freeze trades is becoming clearer by the day. At least the players and owners have agreed on something.
Effects of a lockdown
Athletic reports that the MLBPA also issued a statement outlining its goals in negotiating a new collective agreement. The association distributed a work stoppage guide to agents and players, clarifying what activities will continue and what will cease in the event of a lockout and transaction freeze. From the story:
- Players can only receive help if they are on the 40 player roster. This includes health insurance coverage for players who were on a roster at any time during the 2021 season.
- The amount of aid was not announced, but some players received up to $ 10,000 every two weeks during the 1994-95 players’ strike.
- Drug testing would stop in the absence of an ABA.
- Injured players were unable to rehabilitate at the team’s facilities
- Players would be free to sign and play in international leagues during a lockout
- Some players could go ahead and play in the minor leagues if the lockdown is still in effect when those leagues start playing. However, players cannot be optioned to minors during a work stoppage.
- Player visas could be revoked during a shutdown if they are not in the United States when the lockdown begins. It depends on the US government.
- Needless to say, no free agent transactions or signing would take place during a lockout.
MLBPA Trading Goals
The brochure then explains the union’s position in collective bargaining. We’ll post this with an interpretation, to provide some details on what players are looking for.
âAn overall assessment of our industry shows that player value and player compensation are not moving in the right direction,â the page begins. âWe have fundamental concerns about the integrity of the system as it currently operates. “
Translation: Player salaries have declined over the past three seasons as several teams fight and do not sincerely try to put a competitive team on the pitch. Meanwhile, new local and national television contracts have given MLB substantial revenue growth.
We continue to see clubs openly choosing a sustained loss model while reaping economic benefits. Winning at all levels must have value, otherwise our system will not work.
Translation: Stop tanking. Establish a wage floor as part of the competitive break-even tax structure, forcing teams to spend revenue sharing dollars, and not allowing teams to compile the highest draft picks in consecutive years .
Make sure the most talented players are on the pitch
Our game is at its best when the best players are on the pitch, regardless of age, experience or length of service. Clubs continue to keep the best players off the field just to manipulate serve time. This fundamentally undermines the integrity of sport.
Translation: End of service time manipulation. The arbitrator in Kris Bryant’s case has ruled that there is nothing in the CBA that prohibits teams from detaining a player among minors for financial reasons. Changing the language would still force players to file a complaint and prove their case if they feel cheated. Allowing all stars or those who win certain awards or produce at a certain level to become eligible for arbitration earlier would help address this issue.
Reduce artificial barriers to competition
Restrictions such as Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) and Draft Pick Compensation continue to affect the way clubs compete for players and provide practical excuses for clubs to justify their lack of competitiveness. These artificial obstacles to the remuneration of players must be resolved.
Translation: End the payment of compensation for elite players. Relatively few players receive qualifying offers and are subject to the payment of compensation, and the teams that have benefited are more generally larger market teams. The owners have offered to stop paying the free agent allowance in the latest round of talks in exchange for an international project.
Increase the threshold for teams paying a CB tax. Although the threshold has increased slowly, it has not kept pace with the growth in income. The tax threshold has functioned as a de facto salary cap, as each team whose payroll exceeds the threshold has reduced the payroll to lower it at some point during the current ACB. And again, set up a salary floor as part of the CB tax structure.
The owners actually proposed a minimum wage, presumably with a soft tax, but they also proposed lowering the tax threshold to the point where eight more teams would pay a tax and raising the tax rate in their proposal. .
Give players their value earlier in their careers
For decades, our reserve system has been separated into three main groups: pre-arbitrage players who earn near minimum wage; players eligible for salary arbitration; and free agents. Recent industry trends show that more and more value on the pitch is being created by younger players whose salaries are artificially suppressed by the reserve system. The system needs to be modernized so that players can be compensated for the value they create, WHEN THEY CREATE IT.
Translation: Significantly increase the minimum wage, closing the wage gap between players eligible for arbitration and arbitration.
Reduce officiating eligibility to two seasons and change the way serve time is calculated, allowing some players to enter free agency earlier.
The owners have proposed raising the minimum wage, eliminating the arbitration system, in place since 1970, and making players eligible for free agency at 29 and a half. The six-year term of service requirement has been in place since 1976. Both proposals have met strong opposition from players. BYB explained the proposals here.
Details of the MLBPA’s proposals, which were made in May and revised in October, aren’t fully known, but their goals are.
Ultimately, the stalemate centers on the main economic issues. CBT thresholds and floor wages, minimum wages, eligibility for arbitration, handling of duty time and tanking. The owners would also like an expansion of the playoffs and an international draft. Follow the money.