JUPITER, Fla.- Locked out baseball players and team owners agreed to meet for a third day in a row on Wednesday in an attempt to reach a deal that would salvage opening day on March 31.
Players made counteroffers on several topics during Tuesday’s session. The talks on the 83rd day of the second-longest work stoppage in baseball history marked only the second time since the lockout began that bargaining on core economic issues has taken place on consecutive days.
The sides had met on consecutive days just once before, on Jan. 24 and 25.
MLB has told the union an agreement is needed by Monday for the season to start on time. Players have not said whether they accept that as a deadline.
Negotiations were shifted this week from New York to Roger Dean Stadium, the spring training home of the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals.
On Monday, MLB increased its offer of a bonus pool for prearbitration players by $5 million to $20 million, upped its proposal from three to four for teams participating in an amateur draft lottery and dropped its request for flexibility to decrease domestic minor league contracts along with a plan to limit optional assignments to five per player each season.
The union wants a $115 million bonus pool, eight teams in a draft lottery and a maximum four optional assignments.
The players and teams are far apart on luxury tax thresholds and rates. The teams have told the union they will not increase salary arbitration eligibility, will not decrease revenue sharing and will not add new methods for players to accrue service time, which players said are needed to prevent teams from holding players back to delay free agency.