MLB may be frustrated with the pace of collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations with the Players Association.
But one thing is certain: they cannot, and are not, more frustrated than the fans and players themselves.
The past two days have been a harsh dose of reality for everyone involved in the negotiations, as the owners wanted the help of a federal mediator who could help facilitate the talks.
Players do not want third parties involved in negotiations
It happened Thursday: Friday, the players had already rejected the petition.
Statement from the Major League Baseball Players Association: pic.twitter.com/KBssy2e66U
— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) February 4, 2022
The players said, via a statement, that “the clearest path to a fair and speedy agreement is to return to the table. The players are ready to negotiate.
This should be the way to go.
The union is fighting for its players, which makes sense, but has shown it is willing to make at least some concessions.
However, there is a problem: MLB does not want to negotiate.
So far, the evidence suggests the league just wants to impose its will and secure the best and most convenient deal for itself.
They refused to seriously consider many of the players’ most pressing needs, most of them related to major and minor leaguers’ compensation, but others related to the balance and integrity of the competition.
Players want more than just an increase in salary: they want teams to avoid tanking, and they want the organization to stop playing with the service time of top prospects.
One of the union leaders, New York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer, said mediation was not necessary because what they are offering to MLB is fair to both parties.
“We want a system where threshold and penalties don’t work as caps, allow younger players to realize more of their market value, make service time manipulation a thing of the past, and eliminate tanking as a winning strategy” , did he declare.
We want a system where threshold and penalties don’t work as caps, allow younger players to realize more of their market value, make service time manipulation a thing of the past, and eliminate tanking as a winning strategy.
— Max Scherzer (@Max_Scherzer) February 4, 2022
It’s clear that players are starting to lose patience.
MLB responds to player’s rejection of mediator
Shortly after the players rejected the idea of a federal mediator, MLB responded with its own statement.
“Time to get help.”
Major League Baseball today responded to the MLBPA by rejecting the intervention of a federal mediator. The full statement, via a league spokesperson: pic.twitter.com/3jGBLPGudX
—Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 4, 2022
The league says the goal is to have “players on the field and fans in the stands” for spring training and opening day.
He also said it was “time to get immediate help from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service” to work out the differences and “break the deadlock.”
This “impasse” they refer to was set up by them, in early December, when they put the lockdown in place.
The owners also slammed the players, saying “it’s hard to understand why any party that wants to reach an agreement would refuse to mediate with the federal agency specifically tasked with resolving these disputes.”
While the league closed its statement saying it “remains committed to bringing solutions to the table and reaching an agreement that is fair to both parties,” it appears negotiations are at an impasse.
They want the federal negotiator to take over, and the players want to settle things without a third party.
We’ll see who blinks first, but it’s clear the owners aren’t exactly willing to negotiate and concede things.
At least that’s the impression from the outside.