The owners first imposed the lockout that has shut down baseball in early December, and MLB has indeed been shut down since then. The league waited six weeks to make an opening offer after imposing a lockout which they said was to jumpstart negotiations, and the two sides have been miles apart for this entire process. The talks finally, at the very least, started to speed up this past week with MLB setting a deadline unilaterally that a new CBA must be in place on Monday in order to start the season on time.
Well, that deadline has been pushed to Tuesday at 5:00 PM ET, as Monday featured the first signs of hope between these two sides, honestly in years. A deal was not struck, and it’s still not entirely clear just how close they are, but they talked late into the night and in fact into the morning, coming to an agreement on some key elements.
It seems first and foremost the two sides have agreed to a 12-team postseason, which is not great for baseball fans but it is better than the 14-team format that was included in the other proposal from the league. In addition to that, the league also came down a bit on their CBT (luxury tax) offer. Those details are not out in specifics, but after MLB wanted to make the punishments even harsher for exceeding the tax, it seems the tax rates will remain around where they were for the last CBA. The major sticking points beyond the CBT, which has been the issue to be solved in this entire process, will be around how many players can reach arbitration after two years, the league minimum salary, and the pool of money awarded to the top pre-arbitration players.
We should be clear that there is no guarantee a deal will come today. If we’ve learned anything from following these two sides negotiating the last few years, it’s that you can’t count on a deal until it is actually signed. But still, we have our first signs of real optimism and there is a real chance of this thing getting done this afternoon. Maybe Bryan was on to something after all.