MLB, locked-out players meet again, no sign of breakthrough

Michael Chow/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball and locked-out players resumed negotiations Sunday after a four-day break, talking for 95 minutes on the 95th day of the work stoppage with still no sign of a breakthrough.

Players suggested the sides meet again Monday.

The union gave a written response to the owners’ latest proposal. MLB negotiators left the meeting at the players’ association and said they would respond.

Trying to resolve baseball’s second-longest labor stoppage, the sides remain far apart on luxury tax, minimum salaries and the proposed bonus pool for pre-arbitration eligible players, and the union keeps rejecting management’s proposal for an international draft.

Players offered to increase the postseason from 10 teams to 12 but said they are willing to discuss management’s desire for 14 if MLB would consider a “ghost win” first round, which management isn’t interested in.

Players kept their luxury tax-thresholds the same as the previous proposal: $238 million this year, $244 million in 2023, $250 million in 2024, $256 million in 2025 and $263 million in 2026.

MLB is at $220 million in each of the next three seasons, $224 million in 2025 and $230 million in 2026.

Tax rates would remain unchanged.

As part of an overall agreement, players agreed to withdraw their proposed expansion of salary arbitration for players with at least two years of service but less than three.

The union lowered its plan for the pre-arbitration bonus pool to $80 million from $85 million, with $5 million annual increases. MLB last offered $30 million, up from $25 million, with no annual increase.

A fast-track competition committee of four union appointees, six management and one umpire would consider rules changes for no earlier than 2023 covering a pitch clock, limiting defensive shifts and using larger bases. The committee would be able to recommend changes during the offseason with 45 days’ notice.

Currently, management can implement rules changes with an agreement or with one year of notice.

Players said they will not include allowing the committee to consider robots to call balls and strikes.

Players are willing to keep salary arbitration unchanged, and maintained their proposed minimum salary at $725,000 this year, $745,000 in 2023, $765,000 in 2024 and increases during the following two years based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners.

Owners offered $700,000, with $10,000 annual increases.

For players assigned to the minors and signing a second or later big league contract, MLB is at a $99,400 minimum this year, $101,400 in 2023, $103,400 in 2024, $105,500 in 2025 and $106,600 in 2026, while players are at $118,200, $121,400 and $124,700, followed by cost-of-living increases.

For those in the minors on a first big league contract, MLB is at $49,800 with $1,000 annual increases, while players are at $59,500 for this year followed by $61,100, $62,700 and cost-of-living increases.

Players rejected MLB’s proposal for an international draft and remained at the top six picks for the proposed amateur draft lottery, one more than MLB.

Players also want to cut back on MLB’s proposed international games that include Mexico City; Melbourne, Australia; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and South Korea.