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Labor Issues Newsbeat

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Sources: MLB, union reach tentative agreement on new CBA, salvage 162-game season

The basic agreement governs almost all aspects of the game, but baseball’s core economics were front and center in the labor talks. In addition to the CBT move, the minimum salary governing players with less than three years of major league service will jump from $570,500 to $700,000, growing to $780,000, and a bonus pool worth $50 million will be distributed among those younger players who have yet to reach salary arbitration.

MLB had pushed for expanding the postseason to 12 teams—a plan to which the MLBPA agreed. Additionally, player uniforms will feature advertising for the first time, with patches on jerseys and decals on batting helmets.

Other elements of the deal include:

• A 45-day window for MLB to implement rules changes—among them a pitch clock, ban on shifts and larger bases in the 2023 season

• The National League adopting the designated hitter

• A draft lottery implemented with the intent of discouraging tanking

• Draft-pick inducements to discourage service-time manipulation

• Limiting the number of times a player can be optioned to the minor leagues in one season

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 10, 2022 at 03:36 PM | 103 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues

Tuesday, March 08, 2022

MLB’s Stars Have Already Lost A Chunk Of Their Careers. The Lockout Could Make It Much Worse.

Sweet-swinging, switch-hitting first baseman Eddie Murray, who lost games in three separate seasons — because of both the 1981 and 1994-95 strikes — was the player whose career was cut down the most, losing an estimated 111 total games played. (Incredibly, the durable Murray was still able to finish sixth on the all-time games-played list despite the missed time, but he would have 3,137 games if not for those strikes.) In total, 14 players saw at least 100 games potentially sliced off their careers since 1980, including seven who played in the abbreviated 2020 campaign.4

Still, other players managed to pack so much value into a typical game that they ended up losing a disproportionate amount of WAR. For instance, Mets ace Jacob deGrom has been so dominant in recent seasons that, despite projecting to miss only 21 games due to work stoppages, he is the leader in lost WAR since 1980 with nearly 5 wins of value erased from his tally. That beat out Mike Trout (a certified WAR legend), Greg Maddux (who was basically the deGrom of the 1990s) and Mookie Betts (the only contemporary position player who has consistently challenged Trout’s value), each of whom lost an estimated 4.7 WAR to strikes and/or a pandemic over their careers.

For active players, those numbers could only be scratching the surface. If MLB misses the first six games of the season — as is the current extent of the damage — deGrom, Trout and Betts would lose somewhere between a quarter and a third of a win from their career WAR tallies.5 But if an entire month is missed, each would lose around 1.2 WAR, a number that would rise as the impasse drags on. Very quickly, we could be talking about an entire season’s worth of lost production — not just in terms of WAR, but also the hits, home runs, innings and strikeouts that go into the calculation — simply missing from the primes of this generation’s careers.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 08, 2022 at 04:27 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues

Baseball fans are mostly to blame for the MLB lockout

That’s what’s happening here. Consumer pliability has encouraged two groups of people who already have too much to slap it out for even more. The foundation of this fight is the rock-solid belief that fans will be back.

Maybe not all at once. The baseball media loves citing the fact that after the 1994-95 lockout, it took 10 years for attendance numbers to recover. But the important part of that sentence is at the end – they recovered.

So what is the more likely effect of suffering a horrendous three-day hangover? That you never drink again? Or that you do, knowing that you shouldn’t schedule any dental work until Day 4?

Twenty years ago, while in the midst of this apparent fan revolt, the average value of a baseball franchise was about US$300-million. Today, it’s nearly US$2-billion.

So if you are one of the involved parties, what’s the lesson you’ve been taught by the fans? That crime (against the national pastime) pays.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 08, 2022 at 02:30 PM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues

Morning Consult: MLB Fans Are More Than Twice as Likely to Blame Owners Than Players for Canceled Games

Self-identified MLB fans were more than twice as likely to say the owners are most responsible for the failure to reach an agreement (45 percent) as they were to say the players bear the brunt of the blame (21 percent). About 1 in 3 baseball fans (34 percent) said they don’t know or have no opinion on which side is most responsible for the dispute.

The subset of fans who characterized their fandom as “avid” were also more likely to side with the players, but did so at a lower rate (1.8 times) than self-identified “casual” fans (2.4 times). Similarly, U.S. adults who said they typically attend at least one MLB game per season blamed the owners at a lower rate (1.9 times) than those who don’t attend games (2.7 times).

More fans blamed the owners for this round of labor unrest than in the summer of 2020, when the two sides attempted to negotiate the terms of a return to play following the delay of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In that instance, 33 percent of MLB fans said the owners deserved the most blame if the two parties were unable to strike a deal, while 24 percent said the players would be at fault, meaning fans were 1.4 times more likely to side with the players than the owners. Ultimately, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred mandated the scheduling of a 60-game season after the two sides failed to reach an agreement.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 08, 2022 at 11:19 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues

Sources: MLB to cancel another week of games if deal not reached by Tuesday night

In a proposal Monday, the league lessened chasm on the competitive-balance tax, the primary issue dividing the parties leading into the league’s cancellation of games last Tuesday. MLB’s offer bumped the first CBT threshold from $220 million to $228 million, sources said, still shy of the $238 million request the union held to Monday in its written response to the league’s previous proposal. The growth of the CBT proposal to $238 million in the fifth year of a potential deal remained one of the sticking points for players, whose proposal seeks a $263 million first threshold in 2026, sources said.

MLB tying Tuesday to full pay and service, which was first reported by The Athletic, adds a long-expected pressure point to talks. While terms of any collective-bargaining agreement can be negotiated, the threat of removing full pay and service from future proposals—as well as the potential rejoinder of expanding the playoffs from 10 to 12 or 14 teams—adds gravity to Tuesday’s talks. Should a deal not be struck Tuesday, the complications to reach one in the future could grow more difficult.

At the same time, before the league’s last deadline on Feb. 28—which got pushed to March 1—it suggested the cancellation of games meant no making them up and no recouping lost pay and service. MLB has softened on that stance, suggesting Monday that if a deal comes down Tuesday, players can be in spring-training camps by Friday and lost games could be made up on off-days and with doubleheaders.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 08, 2022 at 12:11 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues

Monday, March 07, 2022

For former Rays pitcher Shawn Armstrong, being ‘covered’ is no help

Under baseball’s Byzantine rules, some players who were outrighted to the minors at the end of last season, such as Rays reliever Chris Mazza, were eligible to sign minor-league deals during the lockout. But others, such as Armstrong, were considered “covered” players and were not.

So Mazza was able to re-up with the Rays.

As a result, he has been in minor-league camp at the Port Charlotte facility, throwing in front of team executives and coaches, including the big-league staff at times, working out with the strength and conditioning staff and getting treatment from the athletic trainers. Come April 5, he most likely will be pitching for Triple-A Durham, as the first week of the big-league season was canceled.

But Armstrong remains in limbo.

He has been working out at a facility near his Raleigh, N.C., area home with a group of players, contributing to the $250 daily fee to rent a field (Ting Park in Holly Springs) to throw live batting practice and, because their regular catchers got hurt, posting an open invitation on Twitter for help behind the plate.

Armstrong isn’t allowed to talk to teams or even participate in workouts in front of scouts, much less make a life decision and take a minor-league deal to know where — at least between Triple-A and the majors — he, his wife and their newborn child will be once the season gets underway.

“I mean, it sucks,” Armstrong said. “Because, like, I literally can’t do anything.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 07, 2022 at 05:49 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues

Yankees president Randy Levine on ‘embarrassing’ lockout: ‘This is a horrible situation’

With the players asks comes an increase in CBT, but Levine says that owners don’t have “endless money.”

“The problem that I’m hearing talking to everybody is people seem to think that there’s all this money that’s come into Major League Baseball. All of this money that we’ve recouped, all of the losses from COVID, everything is back to the way it was. Well, nothing is farther from the truth,” Levine told ESPN. “I’m speaking of the Yankees, the highest revenue team: We didn’t have fans in the stands for a year and a half. We lost television games, we lost all kinds of revenue, and baseball lost billions and billions of dollars. And players lost salary, players lost money. It was a very unfortunate circumstance. So there’s not all this new money that’s going on all throughout the system that there’s money for all aspects. Both parties have to prioritize what’s the most important thing to them and negotiate what’s the most important thing, but understanding that there’s a finite amount of money…

“You can’t pretend that there’s all this money in the game where there just isn’t… Nobody’s crying poverty. But what people are just saying is we need to be appropriate and proportional in how much money is out there so it’s realistic and not unrealistic.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 07, 2022 at 05:41 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues, yankees

Friday, March 04, 2022

Examining what the 2022 season could look like based on how long it takes to reach an agreement


The two sides aren’t going to ramp up talks again within the next few days and they realistically need at least three weeks—and will probably push for four—of spring training before starting the regular season. I do not think the first two series being canceled are going to be the last and I also firmly believe there’s something to the theory being floated from the player side that enough of the owners (it only takes eight in a 30-team vote) really don’t want to play in April.

May 1 is a Sunday and could be a nice starting point for a few “showcase” games followed by the traditional “Opening Day” on Monday, May 2.

For the week of games starting May 2 (remember, MLB weeks run Monday through Sunday), the Yankees-Blue Jays, Braves-Mets and Giants-Dodgers series provide some juicy national TV candidates. 

The sweet spot here for a deal would be the range from Thursday, March 31 through Sunday, April 3 and it’s very reasonable to believe lots of headway can be made in the time between now and then in negotiations. The entire month of April could then be spring training and hopefully help the local economies in Florida and Arizona that are being hit right now with a lack of MLB spring training.

In losing all the games through April, most teams miss around 26-30 games. Perhaps the two sides can agree upon 140 games by putting in some doubleheaders with the remaining schedule? We’ll say it’s 135-140.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 04, 2022 at 03:21 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues

Fitch Ratings: Major League Baseball Ratings Can Weather Lockout due to Liquidity

Fitch expects other revenue sources, including tickets, would be available in future years to help cover any potential refunds or restructuring of national media revenue. The coronavirus-affected 2020 season demonstrates that the league and its teams have financial resources to withstand a shortened season, albeit with reliance on liquidity support from ownership or debt financing.

Under a one-month cancellation, we expect MLB will be able to preserve national media revenue at levels close to those agreed to under contract. A majority of national media revenue is derived from the playoffs and the league has flexibility to reschedule and provide additional content for regular season primetime games to broadcasters.

A full season work stoppage is not Fitch’s baseline expectation at this time but even in this scenario Fitch expects league debt interest and stadium debt principal and interest payments in 2022 are fully covered due to ample reserve funding mechanisms embedded in transaction structures. If the lockout extends well into the season, the potential medium-term financial effects of a substantial number of lost games, or the longer-term risks to fan engagement or demand for MLB-related content, may lead Fitch to take negative action.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 04, 2022 at 10:12 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues

Four MLB owners voted against league’s latest CBA proposal, per report

Four franchise owners voted against the last proposal Major League Baseball submitted to the MLB Players Association on Tuesday, according to SNY’s Andy Martino. When the union unanimously rejected the league’s proposal, commissioner Rob Manfred made good on a preexisting threat by canceling the first two series of the season, thereby ensuring the owner-imposed lockout would leak into a third month.

Per Martino’s sources, even more owners would have joined the “nay” side if the league’s proposal offered a Competitive Balance Tax threshold higher than $220 million. As Martino noted, that could prove to be an issue heading forward, given that it takes only eight “no” votes to derail the ratification of a new CBA….

If, as Martino reported, four owners were against raising the CBT higher than $220 million, then the league could have trouble securing enough votes to pass a new CBA if they so much as meet in the middle and agree to set next year’s number around $230 million.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 04, 2022 at 12:54 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues

Wednesday, March 02, 2022

Blue Jays pitcher says owners tried to ‘sneak things’ into fine print of proposal before deadline

Here’s another, according to Toronto Blue Jays player union rep Ross Stripling: the owners attempted to “sneak things” into their offers during Monday’s overnight negotiation session.

Here’s what Stripling told Shi Davidi and Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet:

“It got to be like 12:30 and the fine print of their CBT proposal was stuff we had never seen before,” Stripling said. “They were trying to sneak things through us, it was like they think we’re dumb baseball players and we get sleepy after midnight or something. It’s like that stupid football quote, they are who we thought they were. They did exactly what we thought they would do. They pushed us to a deadline that they imposed, and then they tried to sneak some #### past us at that deadline and we were ready for it. We’ve been ready for five years. And then they tried to flip it on us today in PR, saying that we’ve changed our tone and tried to make it look like it was our fault. That never happened.”

Stripling didn’t elaborate on what exactly the owners tried to sneak through, but it would reason that he’s referencing late-surfacing items like the international draft and MLB’s request to be able to implement rule changes just 45 days after submitting them to the union (the current standard is a year). Neither had been reported as being included in previous proposals, or as something the two sides had discussed.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 02, 2022 at 02:45 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues

Tuesday, March 01, 2022

First 2 regular-season series canceled as MLBPA rejects MLB’s final proposal

MLBPA player leaders agreed unanimously not to accept MLB’s final proposal, and there will be no deal on a new collective bargaining agreement before MLB’s 5 p.m. ET deadline.

MLB had threatened to cancel its March 31 Opening Day without a new deal and commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed that Tuesday afternoon….

MLB’s final proposal, which was delivered before 4 p.m. Tuesday, featured an increase from $25 million to $30 million in a pre-arbitration bonus pool each year for the length of the deal, while the union wants to begin with $85 million in the pool and go up by $5 million each year. On collective balance tax thresholds, the league’s last offer remained the same as its previous one, which started at $220 million and was flat for three years before going up to $224 million in Year 4 and $230 million in Year 5. The union wants to start at $238 million with raises to $244 million, $250 million, $256 million and end at $263 million.

The league also increased its proposal for minimum salaries from $675,000 to $700,000, moving up $10,000 per year. Those figures are based on there being an increase to 12 postseason teams and the addition of five lottery slots in the draft.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 01, 2022 at 05:30 PM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues

Thursday, February 24, 2022

What a deal would look like if the owners and players met in the middle

One of the MLBPA’s demands has been to expand eligibility for salary arbitration. The union began these talks asking for the threshold to be lowered to two years for all players. It dropped the demand to 80% in a previous offer and decreased it again this week to 75%.

The middle point here is 48.5%.

This would move 49 additional players into their arbitration years this offseason. According to an analysis of MLB Trade Rumors’s arbitration database, the average Super Two player since 2018 has earned $2.12 million in their first year of salary arbitration. Those 49 players would cost owners at least $76 million if you subtract the current base wage from the Super Two average.

There’s also a compounding effect of Super Two players having four years of arbitration eligibility instead of three. Super Two players who advance through arbitration generally earn more than the average arbitration comparable salary - in part because they’re often better players and because they have the additional year outside the minimum-wage levels.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2022 at 11:28 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: arbitration, labor issues, luxury tax

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

MLB on potential shortened season: ‘A deadline is a deadline’

Major League Baseball will begin canceling regular-season games if the league and the MLBPA can’t come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement by Monday, a league spokesperson said on Wednesday.

The games would not be made up and players would not be paid full-season salaries, the spokesperson said.

“A deadline is a deadline,” the spokesperson said. “Missed games are missed games. Salary will not be paid for those games.”

It’s the first time the league has publicly said it would shorten the season if a new deal isn’t reached by the deadline. The league first gave the players the Feb. 28 deadline two weeks ago and reiterated it to them Wednesday. Citing health concerns, the league said it wants about four weeks of spring training—hence its Monday deadline. Opening Day is scheduled for March 31.

The players have never acknowledged the deadline.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 23, 2022 at 10:32 PM | 56 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues

How can the MLB lockout end? Baseball insiders weigh in on potential compromises

What insiders say: These issues are where many believe that the players won’t make as much progress as they’d like. They’ve asked for flexibility on how service time is calculated, particularly for players who get accolades or awards in early season. But that’ll be hard to get through the owners—some executives believe the union should accept the league’s proposal, which gives out extra draft-pick incentives for keeping top prospects on the big league clubs.

With everything else on the line, there’s simply not enough energy to fix the tanking issue in one negotiation—though a payroll-floor CBT-style tax wouldn’t be a bad idea (so far, the league has offered only one along with a significantly-lower CBT ceiling). Small-market teams would never vote for it, though.

The draft lottery is an attempt to disincentivize tanking, but a four-team system isn’t enough according to sources on the players’ side. The union would like to see an eight-team lottery to prevent a race to the bottom of the standings each season.

There isn’t a great, doable avenue to completely avert the tanking cycles without payroll floors and caps. It’s why many believe the players need built-in ways to make money, like the pre-arb pool.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 23, 2022 at 01:30 PM | 56 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues, luxury tax, service time

Friday, February 18, 2022

MLB: Spring Training Games Postponed Until At Least March 5

Major League Baseball announced Friday that Spring Training games will not begin until at least March 5. A delay to the start of Spring Training was a foregone conclusion amid the ongoing labor strife between the league and the players association, but today’s announcement now makes the delayed schedule official.

“We regret that, without a collective bargaining agreement in place, we must postpone the start of Spring Training games until no earlier than Saturday, March 5th,” MLB said in a statement. “All 30 clubs are unified in their strong desire to bring players back to the field and fans back to the stands. The Clubs have adopted a uniform policy that provides an option for full refunds for fans who have purchased tickets from the Clubs to any Spring Training games that are not taking place.”

There’s no clear timetable for when the two parties might reach a resolution.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 18, 2022 at 02:24 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues, spring training

Monday, February 14, 2022

Bowden: It’s time for MLB players to make the owners an overwhelming offer

Sub required.

The bottom line is that the owners have moved a lot more in their offers than the players. They’ve listened to the players’ concerns and made significant proposals to address them in most areas. The players, however, have not really done anything more than demand what they want in the negotiations, with very little movement. I respect union executive director Tony Clark and his lead negotiator, Bruce Meyer, but their approach to these talks seems like the approaches of former union heads Marvin Miller and Donald Fehr: “my way or the highway,” with very little give and take. Instead of complaining about what they call an underwhelming proposal from the other side, the players should show the owners what an overwhelming proposal looks like. As commissioner Rob Manfred said, it only takes one big breakthrough to get a deal done, and the players have the power to do it with their next offer.

There’s still work to be done on the owners’ side, but the players must make the next move, and it needs to be dramatic if Opening Day is going to happen on March 31. I spent my adult life in front offices and know many readers will say I’m looking at this from a former general manager’s viewpoint. That could be partly true. However, anyone who has followed my media career also knows I’m pro-player first and want what’s in the best interest of baseball.

The players are going to “win” if they accept what’s on the table, but they’ll get even more concessions before there’s an agreement. It’s time for them to make a proposal that shows significant movement. It’s time for them to overwhelm the owners, or we’ll all be watching March Madness and canceling our spring training plans. In the best interest of baseball, it’s time for both sides to put the fans first and not let greed and rhetoric stand in the way of a successful 2022 season.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 14, 2022 at 11:15 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues

The Owners’ Latest Offer Gets Us No Closer to Baseball Season

While the players’ first post-lockout proposal attempts to make up a bit of the lost ground with a substantial jump in the CBT threshold, it maintains the same tiered and annual penalties that were in the last CBA. Meanwhile, the tiered penalties in the league’s two offers have become more severe even while the thresholds have barely moved. Even with the removal of escalating repeater penalties and the draft pick penalties for teams exceeding the first threshold, the owners’ proposal appears designed to continue the effects of the last CBA, during which the average salary fell by 6.4% relative to 2017, with the brunt borne by baseball’s middle class; via the Associated Press’ Ronald Blum, the median salary dropped 30%, from $1.65 million in 2015 to $1.15 million in ’21.

Regardless of the other bells and whistles in the deal, the players simply don’t believe that the structure of the owners’ proposals will allow them to grow their salaries…

The union has proposed increasing the minimum salary to $775,000. After making a preliminary offer of $600,000 during negotiations in mid-December, the league offered straight salaries of $615,000, $650,000 and $700,000 for players with 0-1, 1-2, and 2-3 years of service time in their mid-January proposal. On Saturday, they proposed raising the salary for the third year to $725,000, and offered an alternative as well, a flat minimum of $630,000 in the first year of the deal; that’s 10.4% above the current minimum, a jump that would be the largest since the 2012 CBA increased the minimum from $414,00 to $480,000 (15.9%), but it’s less than $6,400 ahead of what the minimum would be if the last CBA’s 2017 minimum ($535,000) had grown with inflation. Under that structure, teams would be able to give raises for subsequent years, but would also be able to unilaterally renew contracts with smaller or no raises as well, just as they have for ages.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 14, 2022 at 02:22 PM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues

Robert Reich: Personal History: Why Labor Secretary Marty Walsh should stay the hell away from baseball

Bill and I went with Selig to another office. Bill sat down next to him on a couch, and commenced the move. Bill’s face was six inches away from Selig’s. Bill’s arm rested on the back of the couch behind Selig’s head so that his hand reached around to Selig’s other shoulder. It was full-intensity Bill Clinton. I was amazed Selig didn’t melt on the spot.

“Look, Bud,” Bill purred in soft southern. “You guys can make millions. Millions. We’ll have a b-i-g sendoff for the season. I’ll help you. We’ll all help. I’ll get Dole to go to Kansas, Gingrich to Atlanta. I’ll have every major figure in America out there for the start. Can’t you just see it?” Bill sketched the vision in the air with his other hand. “This will be the biggest season opening ever in the history of the game. Now … all you need to do” – Bill’s voice became even softer, and he moved his face even closer to Selig’s –“is agree to have this thing arbitrated. It’s in your interest, Bud.” Bill paused and looked deeply into Selig’s eyes. “And it’s also in the interest of … America.”


I thought I heard the National Anthem in the distance. The performance was spellbinding. Selig’s thin body seemed to be shaking. “Let … Let me just … just check with the other … other owners,” he said weakly. I helped him out of the couch. He could barely stand, poor man. He wandered out of the office, dazed.

Bill shot me a grin. “I think we hit a homer.”

The reporters down the hall were restive. I couldn’t help think there were more important things for the President and Vice President of the United States to be doing with their time than waiting for Bud Selig to return with his verdict. Surely something must be happening in China.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 14, 2022 at 02:18 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: 1994 strike, labor issues

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Universal DH approved, Rob Manfred hopeful season won’t start late as spring training delay looms

Manfred declined to officially postpone the start of spring training, but it’s likely only a formality with camps scheduled to open Feb. 16 and spring-training games beginning Feb. 27. While minor league camps will still open, Manfred said they would not be used as replacement players in spring training games.

MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association have a scheduled negotiating session Saturday in which Manfred said there will be new and modified proposals designed to make progress towards a new collective bargaining agreement. If the two sides still have a wide gap in their core economic proposals, there likely will be an official announcement on delaying spring training next week….

“I see missing games as a disastrous outcome for this industry,’’ Manfred said. “ And we’re committed to making an agreement in an effort to avoid that.’’

Manfred spent most of the 20-minute press conference in Orlando, Fla., defending MLB’s negotiating process and their economic proposals. MLB has officially agreed to a universal DH, Manfred said, along with the elimination of draft-pick compensation for free agents.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 10, 2022 at 02:30 PM | 61 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues, universal dh

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

Will MLB lockout affect the regular season? History offers clue for deadline to play 162 games in 2022

The 1990 MLB lockout started Feb. 15 and lasted 32 days, finally ending on March 19 — right as teams would normally be winding down spring roster decisions ahead of the originally scheduled April 2 Opening Day. The late lockout resolution left only about three weeks for a new spring training — exhibition games began March 26 — and delayed the start of the regular season by one week, resulting in an April 9 first pitch. MLB also extended the season by three days to allow for a full 162-game slate.

Fourteen years earlier, in 1976, owners locked players out for the first two weeks of spring training, finally reopening camps on March 17. The regular season was not affected then, either.

Both examples would seem to bode well for our current situation.

It’s also worth noting that in both 1990 and 1976, the in-season storylines quickly eclipsed the lockout in the minds of fans. When looking back on those seasons today, the lockouts are footnotes in otherwise normal campaigns. Though it would probably take longer for lockout memories to fade in our social media-fueled outrage culture in 2022, we could likely expect a similar outcome as the summer unfolded. Baseball fans tend to be very forgiving as long as there’s a compelling product to enjoy.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 09, 2022 at 10:05 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues

Media, please stop falling into the traps MLB sets for you

As has been pointed out here on many occasions, words and framing matter. Here, Nightengale says “it leaves about 2 weeks to reach agreement to avoid delaying the season,” which implies that the only path to the 2022 season beginning on time is for the owners and the players to come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement. Again, he’s far from alone on this: when the offer of bringing in a federal mediator was declined by the Players Association, essentially everyone in baseball media hopped on Twitter to say, intentionally or not, that it was The Players’ Doing that the start of the regular season was now in jeopardy. As Baseball Prospectus’ Shawn Brody tweeted, the rejection of the mediator was “a perfect opportunity for members of legacy media to discuss the idea that MLB is not bargaining in good faith. It’s a perfect opportunity to explain why the existing problem falls squarely on MLB and their bargaining team.” That is not what we got. What we did get was people who should know better, like the Associated Press’ Ronald Blum, talking about how the rejection of the mediator raised concerns about Opening Day starting on time, and without pointing the finger for this issue where it belonged: at the owners.

The owners instituted this lockout. They can lift it at any time. The lockout is not a necessity in order to get a new deal. In fact, if the regular season begins without a new deal in place, the league and players would simply operate under the previous collective bargaining agreement until there was a new agreement to replace it. Yes, the players could theoretically strike at some point during 2022, but the owners have it within their power to keep that from happening, too: they simply need to show up to the table and take bargaining seriously, and not create a situation where the players can declare that negotiations are at an impasse, and a strike is the only way to move things along once more.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 09, 2022 at 11:14 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues

Thursday, February 03, 2022

Major League Baseball looks to federal mediator to help end sport’s lockout, sources say

Major League Baseball on Thursday requested the immediate assistance of a federal mediator to help resolve the sport’s lockout, sources told ESPN, potentially inserting the presence of a neutral party to end a work stoppage now in its third month.

The league reached out to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, a governmental agency that attempts to help resolve labor disputes, sources said. Mediation is not mandatory, and the MLB Players Association would need to agree to the involvement of a third party.

MLB locked out players on Dec. 2 after the sides could not reach an agreement on a new collective-bargaining agreement. Since then, the sides have met four times. None of the sessions has provided significant traction toward a new collective-bargaining agreement after more than a quarter-century of labor peace.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 03, 2022 at 06:23 PM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

Strike that idea: Revisiting Angels replacement players and lessons learned from the spring of 1995

Sub required.

The Angels found much of their talent at a pre-spring tryout. Most of the roster featured has-beens and former minor-league players willing to come out of retirement for a final shot at putting on a big-league uniform and playing in a big-league stadium.

“At the time I was working in Home Depot as one of their department managers,” said Phil Ouellette, a catcher who played 10 games for the 1986 Giants and re-emerged with the replacement Angels. “I hadn’t picked up a bat in years.”

The game drew heavy media attention. Sixty credentials were issued, according to the Los Angeles Times. It was televised.

And, according to then-Angels manager Marcel Lachemann, first-year Arizona State manager Pat Murphy made some insulting remarks at the Angels players’ expense, adding fuel to an already volatile situation. Murphy had reportedly been inundated prior to the game with phone calls accusing him of being a scab. It was a chaotic time; he’d just taken over the job, and acknowledged he might have lacked the full perspective he has today.

“He was interviewed and asked if he had any scouting reports on our players,” Lachemann said. “And his comment — I’m sure it was meant to be humorous — but some of the players took it personal. He said, ‘Well, I had to check at Jiffy Lube and In-N-Out, places like that.’ Because that’s where most of these guys are working.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 01, 2022 at 07:05 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues, replacement players

MLB Draft Lottery Details: What Exactly Each Side is Proposing

Some of the main points:

⇒ In both proposals, all non-playoff teams would be eligible for the lottery (note that the number of playoff teams could change in the next CBA, too). In the owner proposal, the first three picks would be awarded by lottery, and then it would go in reverse standings order from there, starting at pick four. In the player proposal, the first eight picks would be awarded by lottery, and again, reverse standings order would follow.

⇒ In the owner proposal, a team cannot get a top three pick more than two years in a row. The player proposal also bounces certain teams from the lottery, but it is stratified by market size, via The Athletic:

Large-market teams that finish in the bottom eight based on winning percentage in two straight seasons, or in the bottom 12 in three straight seasons, can’t participate in the lottery.

Small-market teams that finish in the bottom four in the previous two seasons, or in the bottom eight in three years, are ineligible for the lottery…

⇒ The player proposal would award bonus picks to smaller-market teams that made the playoffs (after the first round) or finished above .500 but didn’t make the playoffs (after the second round). Teams like the Cubs – the teams excluded from competitive balance picks – would also be excluded from getting these types of picks.

⇒ Moreover, in the player proposal, once you get to the postseason teams? The small-market postseason clubs would pick first, in reverse regular season record, and then the large-market postseason clubs. So, for example, in a year where the Cubs snuck in the playoffs as, say, the last Wild Card team, they’re still probably not picking until well into the 20s.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 01, 2022 at 01:09 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: draft, draft lottery, labor issues

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