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MLB offers small pay rise to young stars


(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

MLB’s current lockdown is starting to wear down fans: their teams can’t complete any transactions, including free agent signings and trades, and injured players can’t even rehab at their team’s facilities.

It’s an extremely frustrating situation, but until MLB owners and the Players Association agree on a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), things will stay the same.

Speaking of negotiations, things picked up again on Thursday after more than a month of baffling inactivity: the owners locked players out on Dec. 1 and they haven’t had any meaningful talks until this week.

It’s shocking that two parties with a clear interest in starting the 2022 season on time didn’t do more in December to try and hammer out a deal, but that might be a discussion for another day.

For now, let’s focus on some of the player petitions.

A fair payment structure for players

They want fewer years from when a player makes his MLB debut until he reaches free agency, a number that currently stands at six.

However, the owners seem unwilling to budge from there, mainly because they still want to manipulate player service time in some way.

Another significant issue in negotiations is the fact that these players who were recently called up are currently earning just under $600,000, which is the league minimum, for three years until they are subject to the arbitration and that they can opt for a significant increase.

According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the league has offered to raise salaries for players with at least two years of service.

“MLB has proposed a formula to provide more money to players with more than 2 years of service in an effort to address concerns about grossly underpaid young stars. The offer to increase the minimum wage from $570,500 to $600,000 in 2022 (then increased in 23 etc.) has been on the table,” he wrote via Twitter.

For players, perhaps the key here is the percentage of salary increase behind the term ‘scaled’.

How many more teams are ready to face these newly called up young players?

Players should earn more in their first years in MLB

It’s not fair that players win less when they are at the peak of their physical abilities (24-30, or so) and win more (in some cases) when they are on the other side of the hill.

For example, Juan Soto was an MVP candidate in each of his first three seasons (2018, 2019, and 2020) and he got the league minimum for his efforts.

What if he suffers a career-threatening injury in spring training that ruins his chances of scoring that big overtime he deserves?

It’s a good thing he made $8.5 million in 2021, his first year as an umpire, but you get the idea.

We also have players who are less talented than Soto, and they are the ones who really need to earn more when they are young because they are much less likely to make a real financial difference when refereeing.

It sounds like something that can complicate negotiations because neither side wants to give in.

Players have every reason to fight for a fair payout structure that guarantees a higher-than-league-minimum salary in their first three years at the majors, especially after spending some time in the economic structure and the poorer pay situation of the minor leagues.




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