Obligatory: No sightings of Bob Nutting or a Pirates player at the talks. Not that it was expected, but still.
The lines in the MLB lockout sand continue to be drawn, but the rumblings that things are getting done are getting louder this time. While Monday’s rule changes may seem like thrown bones, that anything was being agreed upon at all is a step in the right direction.
From TheScore.com’s Travis Sawchik:
So to recap from last night:— Travis Sawchik (@Travis_Sawchik) March 9, 2022
MLB makes moves in later years of a proposal on minimum salary ($700k in '22/$770k in '26), increases CBT base threshold ($230m in '22 and $242m in '26), and bumps pre-arb pool up to $40m (+$10m increase)
*And the proposal includes 12 playoff teams
A 12-team playoff creates 4 tiers of playoff teams:— Travis Sawchik (@Travis_Sawchik) March 9, 2022
*No. 1 seed - bye, home field (+ a re-seed advantage?)
*No. 2 seed - bye
*Top wild cards (home field in WC round)
*Lower WCs (nothing and like it!)
(A 14-team playoff only creates 3 tiers)https://t.co/M8VuFqfCAD
Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich chime in from The Athletic:
Management felt it made significant moves on Tuesday. The owners offered to bring the luxury-tax thresholds to their highest levels yet, starting at $230 million and growing to $242 million by the end of a five-year deal. But the owners also proposed adding in a new tier to the luxury-tax system, something that would be designed to deter owners who would intend to significantly outspend their rivals. “The Steve Cohen tax,” as it is being labeled colloquially in the industry, would be a nod to the relatively new Mets owner whom other owners fear could greatly outspend them. Cohen is the wealthiest MLB owner.
The league’s proposed introduction of harsh restrictions on owners who could notably drive player salaries is a significant issue for the players, who value being in a system where a much freer market exists relative to other sports leagues that have salary caps.
However, the players' union is looking suspiciously at the owners, given last week’s marathon talks that ultimately went nowhere. But April is looming, and one can almost hear the money running out of everybody’s tills. As of this writing, the union’s considering this latest proposal, with some sort of decision to come later this morning.
I will say this: the playoff scenario intrigues me. As is almost always the case, it’s not the best team that wins, but the team that gets hot at the right time. It won’t speed up an already slow game (and it’s baseball, slow is okay, stop trying to make MLB the NBA with caught balls), but it might make a watchable miracle or two.