There’s said to be progress in collective bargaining talks, as the owners and union strive to reach agreement — or, at least, avoid a work stoppage — with the current CBA set to expire at midnight. As ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reports, the league’s ownership has not scheduled a lockout vote, though the owners are on standby in the event that one is required, or if there’s a deal to be confirmed.
Here’s the latest:
- A deal is close and could be finalized tonight, Rosenthal tweets. The meeting has adjourned with “handshakes all around,” MLB.com’s Richard Justice adds on Twitter.
- The sides are “close” to hammering out a deal on the luxury tax system, Jon Morosi of MLB Network tweets. That has been seen as one major obstacle. Given the overall movement, whether or not a final agreement is reached tonight, there’s now little chance of a lockout, Tyler Kepner of the New York Times tweets.
- It’s possible, of course, that the sides could simply decide to maintain the status quo while talks wrap up. If they haven’t seen eye to eye on everything, but see a path to a deal, that may well come to pass. In that event, the offseason business of baseball could carry on while the final issues are resolved. A lockout vote would be viewed as a drastic measure — “only if owners felt they were at point of no return” — at this point, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- We’re waiting to learn more on how things could be shaking out, and it seems there’s still quite a bit of variability in what form the qualifying offer system will take. One possibility, Rosenthal says, is that wealthy teams (i.e., those that pay into the revenue-sharing system) could sacrifice some draft position (say, five spots) if they sign a QO-declining free agent. Meanwhile, low-revenue organizations could sign such free agents without penalty. (Twitter links: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5.)
- Also under consideration, per Rosenthal (via Twitter), are changes to the international signing system. While it seems that a draft is off the table at this point, it’s possible that teams could face a hard cap on total bonus outlays. Presumably, there would also be some increase in the total spending allotment, though that remains unclear.