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Monday, January 24, 2022

MLBPA drops age-based free agency proposal as negotiations on new labor deal continue: Source

The Major League Baseball Players Association dropped its request to introduce an age-based free agency system into the sport on Monday, withdrawing a proposal in one of the three major areas MLB had shown no interest in changing, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Athletic.


That means the amount of service time it takes a player to reach free agency — six years — is most likely going to remain unchanged whenever the sides reach a new deal. The players had previously proposed a system to get some players to free agency after five years if they had reached a certain age: 30 1/2, and then eventually, 29 1/2.


The union also revised its proposal to alter revenue sharing between the teams, another of the three areas MLB has resisted changes toward — and traditionally, a hot-button topic for the owners themselves. Between revenue sharing and free agency, the union feels it made two significant concessions.


The union on Monday also rejected most if not all of what MLB had proposed in the sides’ most recent meeting.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 24, 2022 at 03:23 PM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: labor issues, service time

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   1. Jack Sommers Posted: January 24, 2022 at 04:23 PM (#6062287)
If the union is serious about helping younger players then their line in the sand should be arb kicking in after 2 years, and a significant boost to minimum salary.

Without getting those, the above two concessions would seem like the union just caving. Which is fine too I guess. I don't care.
   2. Adam Starblind Posted: January 24, 2022 at 04:37 PM (#6062290)
I don't care.


Same page.
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 24, 2022 at 05:03 PM (#6062293)
As a fan, I think service time manipulation is bad for the game, and I am a bit disappointed the union dropped that so quickly. But this does get this closer to a resolution. The owners will have to make some concessions - probably on the luxury tax threshold and minimum wage - to show they're serious.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 24, 2022 at 05:16 PM (#6062295)
Without getting those, the above two concessions would seem like the union just caving. Which is fine too I guess. I don't care.

Exactly, who cares. Play the games. They're all making boatloads of money. If the boat gets split 50:50 or 55:45 makes little difference.
   5. Jack Sommers Posted: January 24, 2022 at 06:40 PM (#6062307)
Honestly the thing I do care the most about, minor league pay, is not even on the table in these negotiations of course.

The minimum minor league salary should be 36,000 per year, plus room and board during spring training and the season, (whether actually supplied housing and food, or given in the form of per diem).



   6. DFA Posted: January 24, 2022 at 06:53 PM (#6062308)
As a fan, I think service time manipulation is bad for the game, and I am a bit disappointed the union dropped that so quickly. But this does get this closer to a resolution. The owners will have to make some concessions - probably on the luxury tax threshold and minimum wage - to show they're serious


Agree. I do feel for the fungible relievers, who I presume are people too. But selfishly, I want my Orioles to start losing actual games rather than waiting tools games...
   7. John Northey Posted: January 24, 2022 at 07:04 PM (#6062311)
In the end if both sides feel good that would be nice as that would lessen the odds of more headaches when this deal ends. Right now the owners have a lot of leverage it seems so expect the players to 'lose' again.

The smart move would be to hold on strong with 2 years for arbitration and a bigger minimum salary. I suspect the cost will be an International Draft (secondary to the players), an expanded playoff (big to the owners), the luxury tax not going up as much as players want with a harder penalty for crossing it (big deal for both sides).

For us fans, just get a deal done is what I suspect 99% of us care about. I'd prefer no cap as that makes trades so complicated that it becomes hard to debate them or you spend all the time going over salaries and how that will affect things down the road. We have some of that as is but with a cap I find it impossible.
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 24, 2022 at 07:13 PM (#6062313)

Honestly the thing I do care the most about, minor league pay, is not even on the table in these negotiations of course.


I don't think the union can negotiate on behalf of non members. But why won't the union increase their ranks by bringing in the minor leaguers?

I've always found the player opposition to revenue sharing to be a bit odd. I get they feel like its a slippery slope to a cap or something like that, and I get that the Royals and Orioles should spend more money, but if the Yankees cut the Royals a bigger check, they'd still be able to get top free agents, and the Royals would probably be more likely to spend too. More teams with money means the price for FA goes up. Just seems kinda short-sighted on their part.
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 24, 2022 at 07:16 PM (#6062314)
I don't think the union can negotiate on behalf of non members. But why won't the union increase their ranks by bringing in the minor leaguers?

Because the minor leaguers would be able to outvote them?
   10. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 24, 2022 at 09:24 PM (#6062329)
Hopefully, the parties evolving bargaining strategies indicate they’re getting closer to agreement, but it’s hard to tell. The players have considerable leverage if they’re willing to endure a regular season work stoppage to improve their long-term situation. Not so much if they aren’t, and there’s also the issue of what the owners believe about the players solidarity.

My spring training plans are in limbo, so this needs to be resolved pronto!
   11. The Duke Posted: January 25, 2022 at 09:57 AM (#6062384)
I’m not quite sure why the Union chose to buckle so early. On the one had the rev sharing and free agency probably aren’t number 1 concerns but on the other hand the owners seem quite happy to offer almost nothing. Maybe they will collapse again. If it happens, it just means they are largely happy with the state of play.

I keep coming back to one thing the union need to do which is create a high minimum total payroll (say 175) and raise the cap to something like 250. If they did that they would get all the things they really want:

1. Better free agency for older players and not just the best ones, all of them
2. More money in the pockets of younger players (non-tenders would be a thing of the past and there would be a lot more players getting early deals.
3. More transfer of $$ from owners to players in total
4. More competitive league - no tanking

It also means they wouldn’t care about revenue sharing - let the owners do what they need to do on that.

   12. Karl from NY Posted: January 25, 2022 at 02:33 PM (#6062440)
I've always found the player opposition to revenue sharing to be a bit odd.

Because players are more valuable when the team keeps all their marginal revenue instead of sharing it.

If Mike Trout is worth 10 wins at $6M per win, then he'll get paid $60M per year. If the Angels have to pay out a third of that in revenue sharing, then the team makes only $40M and Trout only gets offered that.
   13. tshipman Posted: January 25, 2022 at 02:41 PM (#6062443)
The union is willing to cave on this because it's not that important.

The problem is that owners are taking home in excess of 60% of the money. Arguing about how to split up the money between the players isn't really the issue.
   14. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 25, 2022 at 02:50 PM (#6062445)

If Mike Trout is worth 10 wins at $6M per win, then he'll get paid $60M per year. If the Angels have to pay out a third of that in revenue sharing, then the team makes only $40M and Trout only gets offered that.,


I guess I disagree - the big market teams seemingly have more than enough to cut a check and pay top FA, but even if you're right, it seems this benefits mostly the top tier of FA, while the middle class gets screwed because there aren't enough bidders for their services.

Interesting developments today:


@JeffPassan
Labor talks are over. Here's what happened.

- MLB agreed to accept parameters of a pre-arbitration bonus pool for top 30 WAR. MLBPA seeking $105M. League offered $10M.
- MLB offered minimum raise to $615K. MLBPA wants $775K.
- MLB withdrew offer to change arbitration structure
   15. DL from MN Posted: January 25, 2022 at 02:58 PM (#6062446)
- MLB offered minimum raise to $615K. MLBPA wants $775K.


These are both too low.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: January 25, 2022 at 04:15 PM (#6062454)
- MLB agreed to accept parameters of a pre-arbitration bonus pool for top 30 WAR. MLBPA seeking $105M. League offered $10M.

Leaving aside I'm not entirely sure how that "pool" is being defined, $10 M (if not a typo) is an insult and a "negotiating" position clearly designed to make the other side walk away.
   17. Walt Davis Posted: January 25, 2022 at 04:25 PM (#6062458)
Given the money MLBPA is asking for, I assume that "pool" is for the top 30 pre-arb players by WAR (which one??!!) so MLBPA is talking about an average of $3.5 M bonus for the best pre-arb guys and MLB is talking abut $300 K. Seeing as how the best pre-arb guys are frequently given a bump to $800-900 K anyway, that's not even an offer by MLB. On the other hand, the top 30 among pre-arb probably gets you pretty far down the WAR ladder so possibly that's a bit deep and/or $105 M is not all that reasonable either (might depend on how the pool is allocated). It also introduces a significant precedent of pay for performance.

On the one hand, Schwindel and Wisdom would be dancing in the streets ... on the other hand, it seems likely the Cubs would simply non-tender them rather than pay them $3.5 M this year. So I guess the pool is a pool ($3.5 M per team) doled out at the end of the season rather than in the next year's contracts? Or do teams contribute to the pool based on how much pre-WAR arb they got? Would there be games played where performing pre-arb guys get sent down to reduce their WAR so Tampa doesn't have to pay too much in bonuses?
   18. The Ghost of Sox Fans Past Posted: January 25, 2022 at 10:15 PM (#6062528)
Anyone want to compile a list of the current top 30 pre-arbs by WAR?
   19. Stevey Posted: January 26, 2022 at 10:38 AM (#6062584)
while the middle class gets screwed because there aren't enough bidders for their services.


The middle class has already gotten screwed by a lack of bidders. More revenue sharing means more teams that aren't dependent on adding wins to generate revenue. The Pirates aren't taking their revenue sharing check and signing a couple $10M/year players with it to go from 70 to 74 wins.
   20. Darren Posted: January 26, 2022 at 11:12 AM (#6062598)
I don't see $10 mil for the pool as any more or less ridiculous than $100 mil. Assuming $10 mil. evenly divided among the 30 (not sure that would be the case), that's about $333K per player. With a base salary of $600-700K, that's about a 50 percent bonus, vs. 500 percent if it's a $100 mil pool. Both seem within reason.

I wonder if each side has thought through the intended consequences of this. Players in the 25th to 35th range are going to have some very individual incentives beyond what's normal.


I also think the players might (might!) be better offer asking for that $100 mil to be evenly spread across players making the minimum instead.
   21. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 26, 2022 at 12:06 PM (#6062614)

On the one hand, Schwindel and Wisdom would be dancing in the streets ... on the other hand, it seems likely the Cubs would simply non-tender them rather than pay them $3.5 M this year. So I guess the pool is a pool ($3.5 M per team) doled out at the end of the season rather than in the next year's contracts? Or do teams contribute to the pool based on how much pre-WAR arb they got? Would there be games played where performing pre-arb guys get sent down to reduce their WAR so Tampa doesn't have to pay too much in bonuses?


I really can't see how the bonus money would be paid out by the team, there's just way too many ways to game the system, especially when talking about someone far down that list of 30.
   22. base ball chick Posted: January 26, 2022 at 12:09 PM (#6062617)
the owners are taking what, like 2/3 of income?

and have a basically salary cap? and 10% of the players make almost all the money? and most ML players don't even GET to arb?
this is horsespit and the union has had maroons for lawyers for 12 years

they are going to continue to cheat players by starting them late because of, um fielding or something and minimum salaries are seriously too low

union needs to get better lawyers
   23. Walt Davis Posted: January 27, 2022 at 10:24 PM (#6062818)
I don't see $10 mil for the pool as any more or less ridiculous than $100 mil. Assuming $10 mil. evenly divided among the 30 (not sure that would be the case), that's about $333K per player. With a base salary of $600-700K, that's about a 50 percent bonus, vs. 500 percent if it's a $100 mil pool.

One is giving a player a $333,000 bonus for adding 4 WAR; the other would be giving him $3.5 M for adding 4 WAR. The first is absurd, the second is just a massive, massive bargain.
   24. Walt Davis Posted: January 27, 2022 at 10:52 PM (#6062822)
Anyone want to compile a list of the current top 30 pre-arbs by WAR?

Somebody with a PI sub could take a decent stab at it but it would be annoyingly hard to do it 100% properly. Assuming we're looking retrospectively (i.e. service time at the start of 2021):

Vlad Jr
Tatis Jr (not complaining)
Tyler O'Neil
Austin Riley
Bichette
Kyle Tucker
Mullins
Brandon Lowe
Ty France
Nicky Lopez
Arozarena
Edman
Robert (under contract)
Wander (now under contract)
Will Smith
Luis Arraez
Trent Grisham
Dylan Carlson
Myles Straw
Edmundo Sosa
Luis Urias
Austin Hays
Yordan Alvarez

That's 23 position players ranging from 3 to 7 WAR. I assume there's be a good number of pitchers too. (Only 44 pitchers of any service time made it to 3 WAR compared with 96 batters so I don't know that they will add greatly to that list.) The top 30 pre-arb does a good bit better than I realized, all comfortably above-average players. A number of the guys listed are arb-eligible for this coming year so will end up getting paid for last year in some fashion. I'm WAGging about 90 WAR from those 23 players.
   25. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: January 27, 2022 at 10:59 PM (#6062826)
MLB offered minimum raise to $615K. MLBPA wants $775K.


I. Can't. Even. When a completely fungible middle reliever or utility infielder is routinely signed for $2-3 mil or more. Brad Miller, an 8 year veteran with a career WAR of 7.5 was signed by the Phillies last year for $3.5 mil. Corey Dickerson, a 31 YO OF with 13.5 WAR in his career , was signed in 2020 for 2 years, $17.5 mil. Kendall Graveman, a 31 YO ML with a career 99 ERA+, just signed a 3 year, $24 mil contract with the White Sox.
   26. DL from MN Posted: January 28, 2022 at 11:24 AM (#6062865)
MLBPA needs to dig in their heels on the $775K. The owners will come up $160k per player to get this done. That's $4M per roster. They will lose that much in a lockout in a week.
   27. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 28, 2022 at 12:36 PM (#6062877)
My guess is the owners are using min. wage as a chip for the luxury tax threshold. That's what they really care about. Each team has, what, 7-8 guys making the min wage? The diff between proposals ($160K x 8) would be $1.2M a team. I can't imagine they really care that much about it.
   28. Bhaakon Posted: January 29, 2022 at 12:27 PM (#6062996)
I don't see $10 mil for the pool as any more or less ridiculous than $100 mil. Assuming $10 mil. evenly divided among the 30 (not sure that would be the case), that's about $333K per player. With a base salary of $600-700K, that's about a 50 percent bonus, vs. 500 percent if it's a $100 mil pool. Both seem within reason.


I think what the MLBPA is really driving at here is to give the best young players in baseball enough financial breathing room to turn down extensions that buy out free agent years. Between the allure of an immediate payday and the risk of injury, it's hard for a second or third year player to turn down a contract that represents generational wealth even if it's a fraction of what they'd get on the free agent market. An extra 300K in the bank doesn't really change that calculus, but an extra $3-4M might, since $3-4M, well managed, still represents a comfortable retirement at age 30.

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