The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, December 01, 2021 6:40 pm

Key proposals in Major League Baseball labor negotiations

RONALD BLUM | Associated Press


Some of the key areas in collective bargaining between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association heading into the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement at 11:59 p.m. EST Wednesday, as obtained by The Associated Press. This is only a partial list of bargaining topics:

Free Agency

MLB: Would keep existing system or change eligibility to age 29.5 rather than six years of major league service, which it has been since 1976.

MLBPA: Would keep existing system for 2022-23 offseason, then would for 2023-24 and 2024-25 offseasons make eligibility six years of service unless five years of service and age 30.5, and then for 2025-26 offseason and later, six years of service unless five years of service and age 29.5, whichever comes earlier.

Free Agent Draft Pick Compensation

Could be eliminated, depending on other economic proposals.

Salary Arbitration

MLB: Would keep current system or replace it with salaries based primarily on Fangraphs WAR, saying the change would address MLBPA’s concerns about paying younger players based on value. Players currently eligible for arbitration under the expired CBA would be grandfathered and have the choice of salary arbitration or Fangraphs WAR.

MLBPA: Would lower eligibility to two years of major league service, its level from 1974 through 1986, when it increased to three years. In the expired agreement, it was three years plus the top 22% by service time of players with at least two years but less than three years.

Luxury Tax

Threshold was $210 million in 2021, with tax rates of 20% for first offender, 30% for exceeding in consecutive years and 50% for exceeding in three or more consecutive years. Surcharge for exceeding $230 million and $250 million.

MLB: Proposed payroll minimum of $100 million per club funded by a 25% tax on payrolls above $180 million. On existing luxury tax structure, proposed raising threshold to $214 million in 2022, rising to $220 million in final season.

MLBPA: Proposed raising threshold starting at $245 million for the 2022 season and eliminating non-tax penalties.

Service Time

MLBPA: Made proposals aimed to prevent what it says is service-time manipulation, including allow accruing of service time for rookies for awards and special accomplishments.

MLB: Rejected MLBPA proposals

Amateur Draft

MLB: Would prohibit a team from selecting among the top five picks in three consecutive years or separately proposed an NBA-style draft lottery for top three picks.

MLBPA: Accepted the concept of a weighted lottery but would expand the number of teams and make adjustments designed to incentivize competition.

Pre-Arbitration Players

MLBPA proposed pool from central revenues for pre-arbirtration-eligible players.

MLB: Smaller pool funded from revenue partly from expanded playoffs and from luxury tax proceeds currently assigned to other purposes.

Minimum Salary

Usually one of the last items addressed. Was $570,500 in the major leagues in 2021, $46,600 in the minor leagues for a player signing his initial major league contract and $93,000 in the minor leagues for a player signing a second or later major league contract.

Both sides would raise minimum but disagree on amounts.


MLB: Would expand postseason from 10 to 14 teams, with wild cards increasing from two per league to four. Division winner with best record in each league would advance directly to Division Series, and the other two division winners and wild-card teams would start in a best-of-three round.

The division winner with the second-best record would choose its opponent from among the three lowest-seeded wild-card teams. The division winner with the third-best record would then get to pick from among the remaining two wild cards. The top wild card would face whichever team is left over after the division winners make their choices.

MLBPA: 12-team expanded playoffs, subject to agreement on MLBPA economic proposals.

Designated Hitter

MLB has offered to accept MLBPA’s proposal to extend the designated hitter to the National League in return for agreement to MLB format of expanded playoffs. The DH has been used in the American League since 1973 and was used in both leagues during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

Uniforms advertisements

MLB: Proposed adding uniform advertising patches.

MLBPA: Would agree, subject to agreement on MLBPA economic proposals.

Revenue Sharing

MLBPA says MLB has rejected all its proposed changes and indicated that it would not agree to any changes. MLB says the changes would eliminate $100 million of revenue sharing money currently going to small-market teams in a system that has been largely in place since the 1997 agreement.




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