Well, MLB is back at it again, looking to shoot itself in the foot. According to ESPN, MLB is currently seeking the ability to shrink the Minor League Domestic Reserve List from 180 players per team to 150 players. The proposal would keep the 180 limit in place in 2022, but would give the league the ability to adjust the limit as it sees fit throughout the duration of the collective bargaining agreement.
MLB says it “currently has no plans” to implement the smaller total roster size, but it doesn’t take a genius to realize that working this stipulation into the collective bargaining agreement means they do have plans to follow through with shrinking the roster size, they just haven’t settled on exactly when yet.
One of the newest Pittsburgh Pirates had this to say about the proposal, and I have to say that I agree with him.
The people making these decisions regarding MLB and MiLB have consistently made every effort to cut costs at the expense of the game. Hard to grow baseball when the people with the power to do so treat it solely as an investment trying to maximize short term returns. https://t.co/LHAR7ZjfMA— Henry Davis (@henrydavis32) February 15, 2022
The MLBPA is expected to reject this provision outright, as the Minors already received a major slashing in 2020 when the 180-player limit was introduced, and another cut simply isn’t going to go over well.
In addition, the league is seeking to limit the amount of times player can be optioned to just five. Previously, there has been no limit. This new proposal is also likely to get shut down by the MLBPA, who have been stepping up to battle for the Minor League players, even though the players aren’t technically part of the MLBPA.
MLB is also currently battling a lawsuit over low pay for Minor Leaguers, as the league continue to argue that Minor Leaguers should be unpaid for Spring Training, essentially arguing that the amount of money a team invests in training a player should be considered payment enough.
Anyway, it doesn’t sound like too much headway has been made in labor talks. Normally, we’d be talking pitchers and catchers right now for Spring Training, but instead we’re discussing how MLB continues shoot itself in the foot. Who doesn’t love billionaires arguing with millionaires about how/why/if to squeeze low paid Minor Leaguers?