MLB Lockout Negotiation Week: Notes from Sunday

Reportedly, MLB and the MLBPA will meet every day this week in an attempt to come to an agreement before a self-imposed February 28th deadline to ensure the season starts as scheduled on March 31st.

In an attempt to cover the daily happenings, here are updates from Sunday:

Much like anything, how Sunday went seems to depend on who you talk to.

Meetings kicked off at one in the afternoon, despite starting at noon the day before. Representation for both sides was light, which didn’t leave me super encouraged for the days’ proceedings, especially after players weren’t even sure they were going to show up for Sunday. I’m sure both sides decided it would be best to do so, if for nothing else than public perception and covering themselves for any future legal proceedings.

Despite lots of face-to-face back and forth—if only in small bursts—and the meeting lasting until after seven o’clock, no official proposals were exchanged; rather, there seemed to be a lot of hypothetical talk on potential give and take between the proposals already on the table. Everything—core and non-core—as well as contentious subjects from yesterday, was discussed.

One of the few morsels to slip through was the fact that the league is now tying the elimination of the Qualifying Offer to increased tax rates on the Competitive Balance Tax. While Evan Drellich of The Athletic didn’t elaborate, my assumption would be this means that the players can either have the Qualifying Offer eliminated or get the league’s tax rate proposal to go down, but not both. No details were given on whether the rates would stay the same as the last agreement, go up but just not as much, whether the loss of picks was still involved, or any other details of the sort.

Sources from the league side used the term “productive”, while the players were more reserved, emphasizing that the sides are still far apart and nothing is really agreed on yet.

The sides will meet at ten in the morning on Monday, earlier than they have any day prior. Monday would theoretically be the last day to reach an agreement before the league’s self-imposed deadline, at which point they are threatening to cancel games. Remember, however, the league does not have the unilateral ability to do that. As Mandatory Subjects of Bargaining, the schedule would have to be part of any agreement, as would pay and service time, and the league can’t just say “games are cancelled” with the union having to accept it.

While a late hour deal is possible, hope should probably be kept at a minimum, as no breakthroughs have been made and there is still “a long way to go” for the sides to come to a deal.

A longtime Pirates Prospects reader, Ethan has been covering payroll, transactions, and rules in-depth since 2018 and dabbling in these topics for as long as he can remember. He started writing about the Pirates at The Point of Pittsburgh before moving over to Pirates Prospects at the start of the 2019 season.

Always a lover of numbers and finding an answer, Ethan much prefers diving into these topics over what’s actually happening on the field. These under and often incorrectly covered topics are truly his passion, and he does his best to educate fans on subjects they may not always understand, but are important nonetheless.

When he’s not updating his beloved spreadsheets, Ethan works full-time as an accountant, while being a dad to two young daughters and watching too many movies and TV shows at night.

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