It’s Deadline Day: MLB teams stay apart as Monday owners’ deadline looms

No formal proposals for a new collective bargaining agreement were exchanged during Sunday’s talks, which an MLB spokesperson called productive. The union, meanwhile, expressed no optimism that a deal could be reached in time.

Chief negotiator Bruce Meyer, left, followed by director of analysis Greg Dreyfuss, second from left, and union chief Tony Clark, third from left, led the players into negotiations Sunday at Jupiter.Ron Blum/Associated Press

Their view is based on a week of talks that failed to close wide gaps on several core and non-core economic issues, including the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT), minimum wage, job sharing revenue, expanding the playoffs, a draft lottery, an international draft, manipulation of service time, and health and safety protocols.

A source on the union side said there was a lot of talk on Sunday, and the talks were much calmer and more professional than on Saturday, when the players left furious at the owners’ backlash to a set of player proposals .

Commissioner Rob Manfred and several owners were on hand at Roger Dean Stadium, but only members of the MLB negotiating committees met with the MLB Players Association team, which included players Marcus Semien, Max Scherzer and Andrew Miller. Sunday’s meetings between owners and players lasted longer than usual, about six hours.

If the deadline passes and games begin to be canceled, the union will begin to negotiate new topics, including service time, compensation, missed games and the new schedule.

Like the 88-day lockout, Monday’s deadline was imposed by owners on players, who may not necessarily agree with the February 28 deadline. Owners say spring training should last four weeks, after about three days to manage logistical hurdles like ABC ratification, so that a March 31 opening day still takes place.

On December 2 last year, the owners rolled out the lockdown, citing it as a way to inject urgency into negotiations that would prevent what Manfred described as the “disastrous” outcome of the 2022 calendar.

Can Rob Manfred and MLB make a deal soon?John Raoux/Associated Press

These Jupiter talks, which began last Monday, were convened to see if any progress could be made that was not in half a dozen face-to-face and Zoom talks held in January and February. Alas, each side made incremental proposals, almost symbolic in hindsight, which came nowhere near solving their problems.

The owners are basically happy with the status quo, except for the expansion of the playoffs to 14 teams. The union said yes to a jump to 12, but anything beyond that requires owners to address the union’s main concerns – higher CBT thresholds, lower CBT penalties and making sure that young players are paid earlier and more.

Monday’s talks are expected to begin at 10 a.m., three hours earlier than most of those Jupiter start times. Early afternoon starts were intended to allow players in the morning to continue their training for the upcoming season, but are not as necessary with declining attendance.

Leaving as much time as possible to strike a deal, however unlikely this proposal may seem, can also be read into the start time.

Michael Silverman can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @MikeSilvermanBB.

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