NEW YORK — Despite all the vitriol in the comments of MLB owners and locked out players, the rift between the two sides has narrowed in recent weeks and negotiations continue to within a common working framework with the aim of obtaining a new collective agreement.
While Monday marked the 96th day of the labor dispute, the two parties remain on their positions on three major issues, namely the luxury tax, the bonus pool reserved for players not eligible for salary arbitration and the minimum wage.
Major League Baseball let the union know on Monday that Tuesday will be the last possible day to reach a deal that would allow for a 162-game season, the site reported. The Athletic. This would allow players to get their hands on their full salary and all scheduled service time. The League has indicated that it risks canceling a second week of activities if no agreement is reached before Tuesday evening.
So far, commissioner Rob Manfred has announced the cancellation of 91 games from the regular schedule and that number is expected to climb soon.
Monday, on the channel YES, associated with the New York Yankees, team president Randy Levine called the situation « horrible. » « Everyone at the Yankees, everyone in Major League Baseball is to blame for the situation we find ourselves in, the players, the owners, the managers, » he said.
« It all seems very wrong, especially considering what’s going on in the world right now, » Levine continued. We all seem very bad… it’s embarrassing to have come to this. »
In an industry where the total payroll is expected to be around $4 billion, the percentage point gap on certain issues does not seem insurmountable.
The two camps would be around $15 million difference on the minimum wage this year, $20 million for 2023 and $25 million for 2024, that is to say less than 1% of the entire payroll. .
Regarding the proposed new prize pool for players who outperform but are not eligible for salary arbitration, the gap would be $50 million this year and widen to $70 million for the year 2026. Again, these figures represent only a slim 2% of the total payroll.
Finally, the most polarizing issue remains the salary cap and the rate of the luxury tax. On this point, the gap between the two camps varies from $18 million for this year to $33 million in 2026.
How much money do players get for every million dollars added to the salary cap? No precise formula exists on the subject.
In 18 seasons under the luxury tax rule, there have been three seasons in which only one team was penalized, ten seasons with two clubs punished, two seasons with three teams and one season each with five, six and seven organizations at fault. .
A maximum estimate of the impact of a cap increase on player revenue would be a multiplying factor of five. But history tells us that the real impact is most likely less.
Major League Baseball fears that a salary cap hike in 2022 could lead to further hikes in subsequent seasons, increasing the disparity between wealthy markets and middle or lower-income markets that fail to retain their best players. .
But the negotiation would involve more than these monetary elements, it must now deal with an element of perception and state of mind.
The Players Association considers that it has taken a step towards the owners by withdrawing its proposals on a freer autonomy market and on widening access to salary arbitration. Players also say they make concessions by accepting advertising on uniforms and helmets; the imposition of a stopwatch on pitchers; the prohibition of defensive swaps; and the change in playoff format.
For its part, the league believes that it has already granted more money to players with the addition of the designated hitter in the National, by eliminating compensation for the loss of a free agent, by increasing the value of bonuses paid to drafted players, by increasing the pool of playoff bonuses and by improving the pension fund.
The teams believe they have responded to player criticisms that young star players were not being fairly compensated, but the union maintains they do not go far enough.
Despite concessions on both sides, both sides appear to be heading for a lost season unless they agree to make further compromises.
« It’s a horrible and difficult possibility to accept, » Levine said. Shame on us if it ever comes to that. »