LMajor League Baseball talks to end the lockout resumed Thursday for the first time in a month and a half, with little progress evident after an hour-long meeting, jeopardizing a timely start to spring training. .
The owners of the clubs in Major League Baseball (MLB) imposed their walkout on December 2, within hours of the talks breaking down and after the five-year collective bargaining agreement expired.
Thursday’s discussions were the first on core economic issues after a 42-day absence from dialogue. MLB submitted proposals with the expectation of at least generating momentum for the negotiations.
After MLB made its proposals, the parties held their own meetings. The players’ union later told MLB it would respond but did not give a specific date.
While the sides met again, they did so with just five weeks to go before pre-season training begins on February 16. Prospects for a timely start have dimmed due to the time needed for players to travel to Florida and Arizona and observe COVID-19 protocols prior to taking the field.
An agreement will need to be reached by the end of February or the beginning of March so that there can be a training period prior to the start of the regular season scheduled for March 31.
MLB’s proposal did not contain any changes to free agency or the luxury tax, two people familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment on the matter.
Owners have proposed maintaining salary arbitration for players with at least three but fewer than six major league service years. They also proposed a new system that would switch to a pool based on a stat known as wins above replacement player (WAR), but the union showed no interest.