MLB, owners seem unwilling to budge as players make early concessions

REUTERS/Steve Nesius

Finally, some progress has been made surrounding the stalemate between Major League Baseball and its players as the owner-induced lockout creeps toward the two-month mark.

The players’ union (MLBPA) countered the league’s initial offer from roughly two weeks ago on Monday with a notable concession — suggesting that they are committed to getting the 2022 season started on time — with another meeting between the two parties being set for Tuesday.

Per reports, the union withdrew its proposal for players to hit free agency earlier in their careers; asking to tie free agency to a player’s age rather than their service time.

Players are currently eligible to hit free agency after six full seasons of service time in the big leagues. The owners, however, have manipulated that service time by holding them down in the minor leagues longer as a sort of loophole to get them more time with an organization.

The union also revised its proposal regarding revenue sharing between the players and teams. The players are seeing less of the money as the increase in revenue sharing between teams and the league has lessened the incentive of winning. Therefore, bad teams don’t feel as much of a need to spend money on better players — which is why you have franchises like the Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles languishing at the bottom of the standings for years at a time. As a result, the average annual salary of a ballplayer is sinking while franchise values continue to soar.

While the players made their concessions, though, the league and owners appear to be remaining as stubborn as ever.

According to Evan Drellich of The Athletic, MLB deputy commissioner Dan Halem informed the players’ union that the league is willing to lose regular-season games over prominent unresolved items.

Rather than give up a little bit more of their massive revenues that stand to only increase given a national broadcasting deal with ESPN that will pay Major League Baseball a whopping $4 billion over the next seven seasons, the owners continue to try and keep most of the riches all to themselves.

The clock is ticking. Spring training is scheduled to begin in roughly three weeks — which is very much in jeopardy unless the league and owners start making some concessions of their own.

A version of this article first appeared on

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