MLB and the Players Association (MLBPA) met on Monday to continue negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), and it seems they have finally made some progress.
The two sides have been far apart on many key issues regarding the economics and competitive balance of the game, which has led to short negotiations that have gone almost nowhere since the lockout began in December.
A new CBA will likely need to be agreed to by early March to avoid any regular-season games potentially being cancelled, which has placed the league and union under some pressure.
With that in mind, the MLBPA has backed off from their ask for an age-based free agency system, according to Evan Drellich of The Athletic:
The Major League Baseball Players Association dropped its request to introduce an age-based free agency system into the sport on Monday, withdrawing a proposal in one of the three major areas MLB had shown no interest in changing, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Athletic.
A free agency system that allows players to enter the market at a certain age instead of through service time was requested as a potential fix to service time manipulation and to help players who were late bloomers in their career, such as Los Angeles Dodgers star Max Muncy and New York Yankees star Aaron Judge.
Getting players paid better earlier in their careers has been a key focus for the MLBPA as average payrolls continue to drop despite revenue increasing every season.
The MLBPA also adjusted their proposal regarding revenue sharing, which is essentially a system that taxes bigger market teams and sends the money to smaller market teams.
The union also revised its proposal to alter revenue sharing between the teams, another of the three areas MLB has resisted changes toward — and traditionally, a hot-button topic for the owners themselves.
MLB and the MLBPA are meeting again on Tuesday, with the league expected to make some form of a proposal.
Tuesday should be a telling day in regards to where the negotiations stand. If MLB is willing to move closer to the MLBPA’s demands, it could be a promising sign for a resolution by March.
However, if MLB gives another offer that’s far from what the players want, it will signal the owners do not want to get a deal done until as late as they in hopes the players drop more of their demands.
MLB will test robot umps in Triple-A
MLB is going to begin testing their Automated Balls and Strikes system (ABS) in Triple-A, the Minor Leagues’ highest level, as they prepare to make the potential change in Majors in the near future.
The proverbial robot umps will also be tested during Spring Training games in Florida, along with the continued testing at Low-A and potentially other non-MLB games, according to a job listing on MLB.com.
They were previously testing the system since a 2019 agreement with the Atlantic League. They also have carried out experiments with it in the Arizona Fall League and lower levels of Minor League Baseball.
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