It all comes down to this.
Monday marks the deadline Major League Baseball set to reach an agreement with the Players Association on a new collective bargaining agreement.
If no deal is reached, Opening Day on March 31 will be affected along with the chance to play a full 162-game season.
ESPN MLB reporter Jesse Rogers reported talks have been productive but still require a long way to go to advance over the finish line.
Was a productive day of talks, according to a league source. They’ll meet Monday morning and keep trying for an agreement before the end of the day/night. Productive doesn’t necessarily mean progress towards a deal by tomorrow but at least they’re still talking.— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) February 28, 2022
The two sides have met every day spanning the past week and entered day eight of talks Monday morning.
MLB Network and Audacy insider Jon Heyman believes a deal could come to fruition by day’s end but faces an uphill battle.
New York Yankees pitcher Zack Britton differs in opinion and has been fighting this week alongside the Players Association. Heyman reported that Britton has been actively engaged in talks.
This is not accurate.— Zack Britton (@zbritton) February 27, 2022
Luxury tax, Super Two, and arbitration salaries are three of the most discussed issues. The idea of a salary cap and/or salary floor has been lost in the abyss and rarely talked about.
A cap and floor would especially assist small market teams including Cincinnati, Cleveland, Oakland, Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh.
These seven out of the 30 MLB franchises, with another two or three arguably included in the group, are forced to craft their teams differently than the Red Sox, Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, and others due to market size.
The issue has been addressed sparingly by revenue sharing but opening smaller windows to compete. Comparatively speaking, the final four teams in the NFL on the AFC side were represented from Buffalo, Cincinnati, Kansas City, and Tennessee, all small or mid-markets when up against New York, New England, LA, etc.
Regardless, Rob Manfred and Tony Clark are running out of time to save their sport and prevent further tension.
Baseball banks on a massive revenue stream but continues to argue on money from both sides. Fighting for your worth is something respectable from the players and owners to push back on if felt overdone, but at some point, a compromise is not ‘hope to be finalized’ but necessary and expected.
Talks have lingered long enough and could be an additional detriment to the sport’s growth in young fans.
America’s Pastime needs to get back to being ‘all the time’ and settle on a deal before similar effects after the 1994 strike are felt yet again.