10:45pm: Rosenthal tweets a quote from someone connected to the CBA talks: “There is very positive dialogue right now. More meetings to come tonight.”
NOV. 29, 7:04pm: Following Olney’s report that the competitive balance tax is the “last big hurdle” to be cleared, Rosenthal reports (Twitter links) that the owners have proposed forfeiting draft picks as the penalty for going over the luxury tax limit, though the MLBPA is sensitive “sensitive to any adjustment that would cause [the] threshold to act as [a] de facto salary cap.” MLB Network’s Jon Morosi tweets that there’s some growing optimism about a deal being reached before the 12:01am ET deadline on Thursday.
NOV. 28, 7:07pm: Despite the apparent concession from the ownership side on the international draft, the “desired effect” of “mov[ing] talks forward” has yet to occur, Rosenthal adds on Twitter.
6:16pm: The owners won’t insist that an international draft be a part of the next CBA, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). There is still disagreement regarding modification to the luxury tax system, he adds; it’s not clear whether the sides are simply haggling over where to set limits or, instead, considering larger changes. Presently, teams are hit with a tax if their payroll exceeds $189MM in a given year, which functions to restrain spending on major league rosters.
5:21pm: Teams may not participate in the upcoming Winter Meetings, according to a report from ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (via Twitter). Club officials, he says, have been given the understanding that they won’t take part in the meetings if the ongoing collective bargaining talks don’t make “sufficient progress.”
This report represents the latest indication that there’s a real possibility of a disruption in the offseason due to the stalled CBA talks. The current CBA expires on December 1, and prior reporting suggests that the league’s owners may consider a lockout depending upon how talks unfold. It’s worth noting that Olney had previously downplayed the potential for problems.
While potential disruption to the 2017 season is still months away from being a concern, a labor stand-off would surely have a significant impact on the way in which the winter signings and trades unfold. Many of the biggest moves take place at baseball’s annual Winter Meetings, which are scheduled this year for December 5-8.
All told, there are several notable upcoming dates of importance, each of which will pressure the sides to come to an agreement. While the league and the MLB Player’s Association seem to be dug in on some matters, there’s also plenty of incentive for both to avoid a work stoppage and find common ground. That’s all the more true given that the issues reportedly still open for negotiation appear to represent a relatively small slice of the game’s growing financial pie.
Among the other topics still under discussion, the possibility of an international draft — which the league has pushed — has drawn strong pushback from the union. Indeed, several Latin American big leaguers reportedly made in-person appearances during talks today, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports in a series of tweets (all of which can be seen here). While prior reports indicated that the league side was willing to scrap the qualifying offer system in exchange for the ability to institute a draft, the union appears to be taking a hard line on that particular issue.