CBA Latest: The Owners will not make a new offer

Sigh.

Late Thursday night, as the Midwest was pounded by ice and snow, it was learned that despite the players’ association Tuesday announcing that they would be returning with a new offer, Major League Baseball owners have changed. of opinion and decided that they were in fact not I will not return with a new offer. Instead, as ESPN’s Jeff Passan first reported, MLB decided to seek federal mediation between the two sides.

There are a few things to discuss about this. The first is the big note that mediation is just that – mediation. The mediator, if accepted by the players, cannot implement anything. The mediator simply serves as a third party to try to be an unbiased person in meetings, perhaps offer suggestions and try to move the two parties towards each other.

While the owners are allowed to request said mediation, the players’ association is not obliged to agree. And according to multiple sources, that seems unlikely. As former Reds starter Alex Wood said, how can you ask for mediation when you haven’t even tried to negotiate?

Why would landlords ask for a mediator? Well, there seems to be a very large and mainstream idea, and a smaller theory that this particular writer hopes to be true but doesn’t have much faith that it actually is.

The prevailing idea is actually quite simple: the owners want the public to start blaming the players for what happens. If the owners can indicate that the players are refusing a mediator, they can and probably can trick much of the casual fan population into thinking that it’s the players who weren’t and aren’t negotiating here. The casual fan isn’t following this online and listening to the actual negotiations – they just seem like the biggest of the talking points and it’s going to be a big one.

What the request for mediation can also do is as Eugene Freedman notesspeeding up Major League Baseball’s process of declaring the parties deadlocked, which would then open up a few more options.

To anyone who has been paying attention, it seems very clear who is responsible for the lack of progress. It is the owning party that made virtually no attempt to negotiate in good faith. They even opened negotiations trying to tell the players that under no circumstances would they even consider altering free will or prior arbitration. The very few proposals that have been made since the players were locked out – a decision, by the way, that was by no means necessary and could be waived by the owners at any time – have been laughable. One offer included a reward of a draft pick for a team if they did not deliberately withhold a player and manipulate their service time AND that player also proved to be a stallion (by winning the ROY award or finishing in the top 3 in the Cy Young race or MVP in any of their first three seasons).

As for the other theory that has been floated about why MLB would ask a federal mediator to intervene…. there might be a portion of owners who are simply unwilling to make concessions that need to be made.

How many times have you heard things like “Scott Boras won’t let player XYZ sign an extension!” ? Probably a lot. And every time I hear it, I roll my eyes because Boras and all the other agents are working for the player and not the other way around. Dan Halem and Rob Manfred work for the owners. They negotiate based on what the owners have told them they want to happen, not what Halem and Manfred specifically want to happen. It’s possible that they understand that what they’re offering is just not going to get done, but their bosses (owners) don’t care either because they’re just not going to give in anymore.

Is it likely that Halem and Manfred realize this and that’s why they’ve had a mediator try to move some owners in the right direction and figure out they’re being unreasonable? No, it’s not likely. But it is possible that this is what is happening.

One final thing to add here that surfaced as I was writing this was a graph from The Athletic that shows estimated payroll, luxury tax threshold, and income over the past 20 years. Revenue growth far exceeds payroll and luxury tax growth.

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