1:27am: “There will be no deal on a new collective-bargaining agreement in this early hour,” reports ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Passan says the two sides will meet again later today in hopes of finalizing a deal, with MLB’s deadline to miss regular season games moved to 5pm on March 1. We can all call it a night, with the first real sense of optimism since the lockout began. Indeed, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports that the “union indicated a belief that MLB showed a willingness to get a deal today.”
12:32am: Negotiations between MLB and the MLB Players Association have been going on continuously since Monday morning, now stretching into the early hours of Tuesday. For the first time since the lockout began on December 2, real progress is being made on a new collective bargaining agreement. Jon Heyman of the MLB Network reports, “Current plan is to stay in the stadium and keep talking until a deal is done. Determination to finish this exists.”
The parties have already reportedly agreed upon one key point, settling on the expansion of the postseason t0 12 teams. In a December 27 survey of over 17,000 MLBTR readers, about 28% preferred 12-team playoffs, with 62% favoring 10 or fewer teams.
However, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that “several hurdles still need to be resolved” to wrap up a deal. Among those would seem to be where to set the competitive balance tax thresholds, the league minimum salary, and the amount of money to be allocated to the bonus pool for pre-arbitration players. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reported recently that the parties were “actively discussing” where to set the CBT (Twitter links), and added that a gap on the pre-arb bonus pool remains.
There haven’t been many reports on specific terms being discussed since Nightengale first reported a compromise on a 12-team playoff at 10:41pm CST on Monday. Key representatives on both sides continue to work, with 16 consecutive hours in the books. The thirteenth distinct meeting of this marathon bargaining session just began between representatives of each side.