JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Major League Baseball has extended its deadline to salvage Opening Day and a 162-game season through 5 p.m. Tuesday after a marathon 13-hour trading session over 4.5 p.m. allowed progress towards an agreement but left the still distant sides.
Players and management began their eighth consecutive day of negotiations at 10 a.m. Monday and did not suspend talks until 2:30 a.m.
They agreed to resume at 11 a.m., giving them just six hours to reach a deal that would end the lockdown on the 90th day.
Commissioner Rob Manfred had said Monday was the last possible day to strike a deal that would allow the minimum time needed for spring training to play openers as planned. The union said it didn’t necessarily agree on the schedule and just as the parties agreed to suspend, MLB gave the players the new deadline.
“We want to exhaust all avenues of reaching a deal,” an MLB spokesperson said.
The players’ association plans to analyze the latest proposals and prepare a response for the resumption of talks. The union intended to be back at Roger Dean Stadium, the vacant spring training home of the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals, by 10 a.m. to review its positions.
The parties agreed, subject to an overall agreement, to expand the playoffs from 10 to 12 teams, rather than the 14 MLBs had hoped.
On the central economy, the parties were still looking for an agreement. Management’s proposals included:
—Raise the luxury tax threshold from $210 million to $220 million this year.
– Setting the new bonus pool for pre-arbitration players at $25 million per year.
—Raise the minimum wage from $570,500 to $675,000 this year, with increases of $10,000 annually.
Players felt that all of these numbers were insufficient. At the start of the day, they had requested a threshold of $245 million this year, rising to $273 million by the final season of a deal. They had offered a bonus pool of $115 million.
The union believed there was an agreement on luxury tax rates, which management proposed to raise significantly while eliminating harsher penalties for repeat spendthrifts.
The players’ latest proposals considered waiving extending salary arbitration from the top 22% to 35% per time served by players with at least two seasons of service and less than three.
Manfred, who attended a bargaining session for the first time on Friday, took part in two of Monday’s meetings, two two-on-two sessions that included union leader Tony Clark, deputy commissioner Dan Halem and chief negotiator of the Bruce Meyer Union. In the first meeting, which started at 2:45 p.m. and lasted 40 minutes, Manfred told the players he wanted to reach an agreement.
The pace then picked up, with the management negotiating team repeatedly marching from their area in the main part of the stadium to the union in the building beyond the corner of right field which includes the Cardinals clubhouse. .
“We’re working on it,” Manfred said around 6 p.m. after his second session of the day with the union.
The union said MLB continues to give it pieces of paper with new proposals.
Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner did not leave the baseball field until 1:30 a.m. Mets pitcher Max Scherzer and free agent reliever Andrew Miller, the two players present, left at 2 a.m. h 30.
Halem and executive vice president Morgan Sword were key figures in the meetings, and Colorado Rockies CEO Dick Monfort attended a few. Some of the sessions lasted only a few minutes and also included Senior Vice President Pat Houlihan.
The players and the league had only met six times on the base economy in the first two-and-a-half months of the lockdown.
Emotions grew higher as the parties pressed for each other’s backline. Philadelphia star Bryce Harper posted a photo on Instagram edited to show him in a Japanese baseball uniform with the words: “Yomiuri Giants you up? I have time to kill.
Yankees pitcher Jameson Taillon, who attended negotiations last week, tweeted: “Players are used to their ‘threats.’ The actions of the owners made it clear that they have a set of games where they are still making a profit/receiving money for TV. They don’t want to play. It’s sad that these guys are leading the direction and the ‘future’ of our amazing sport.”
Players would lose $20.5 million in salary for each canceled day of the season, according to an Associated Press study, and the 30 teams would lose significant sums that are harder to pinpoint.
Spring training games were scheduled to start on Saturday, but baseball’s ninth work stoppage – and the first since 1995 – has already resulted in the cancellation of exhibitions through March 7.
Not since August 30, 2002, has MLB been so close to losing regular season games to a labor dispute. The union was due to strike at 3:20 p.m., but about 25 consecutive hours of meetings and huddles culminated in an agreement at 11:45 a.m.
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