Progress being made in labor negotiations; deal could be done this week

9 Comments

Jayson Stark and others are hearing this afternoon that some serious progress has been made in labor negotiations over the new collective bargaining agreement. There’s a decent chance that a deal could be done this week, in fact, though Stark has other sources telling him that’s a 50/50 proposition.

Of course, my counterparts at ProBasketballTalk would probably kill for 50/50 all season, let alone this week, so let us not be pessimistic.

The holdup — which is no surprise if you’ve read our stuff on the CBA for the past couple of years — is the owners’ insistence on hard slotting for draft picks.  The progress seems to be coming in the from of some mechanism other than a hard draftee bonus cap that nonetheless depresses signing bonuses.

All of which seems strange to me as a sticking point. I mean, I know why the union is holding firm: it’s a principle thing on never allowing salary caps of any kind anywhere.  The owners, though? Draftee bonuses get tons of headlines but they represent such a small fraction of overall payroll. Like a really, really small amount. The top pick gets what a slightly above average veteran second baseman gets over a couple of years. Seems like a strange place to make a stand.

But it doesn’t sound like the hardest stand, and it seems like labor peace is close at hand.